Arthur Cayley F.R.S. was a British mathematician. He helped found the modern British school of pure mathematics.
As a child, Cayley enjoyed solving complex maths problems for amusement. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he excelled in Greek, French, German, and Italian, as well as mathematics. He worked as a lawyer for 14 years.
He postulated the Cayley–Hamilton theorem—that every square matrix is a root of its own characteristic polynomial, and verified it for matrices of order 2 and 3. He was the first to define the concept of a group in the modern way—as a set with a binary operation satisfying certain laws. Formerly, when mathematicians spoke of "groups", they had meant permutation groups.
See also Cayley's theorem.