Such Silver Currents is the first biography of a mathematical genius and his literary wife, their wide circle of well-known intellectual and artistic friends, and through them of the age in which they lived.
William Clifford is now recognised not only for his innovative and lasting mathematics, but also for his philosophy, which embraced the fundamentals of scientific thought, the nature of the physical universe, Darwinian theory, the nature of consciousness, personal morality and law, and the whole mystery of being. Clifford algebra is seen as the basis for Dirac’s theory of the electron, fundamental to modern physics, and Clifford also anticipated Einstein’s idea that space is curved. The book includes a personal reflection on William Clifford’s mathematics by the Nobel Prize winner Sir Roger Penrose O.M.
The year after his election to the Royal Society, Clifford married Lucy Lane, the journalist and novelist. During their four years of marriage they held Sunday salons attended by many well-known scientific, literary and artistic personalities. Following William’s early death, Lucy became a close friend and confidante of Henry James. Her wide circle of friends included Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Leslie Stephen, Thomas Huxley, Sir Frederick Macmillan and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.