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George Boole

George Boole

Early Life

George Boole was born on 2nd November 1815 in Lincoln, England. He was a mathematician and logician who worked immensely to create the branch of mathematics now called deductive logic. He attended primary school but he inherited his mathematical talent from his father while being taught by him. By 16 he was teaching at Heigham’s School in Doncaster and at 19 he was the owner of his own school at Lincoln. By 1940 he was running a boarding school. He went to the Mechanics Institute where he was taught by the best. Edward Bromhead helped Boole by providing him with various mathematics books which he used to study Newton’s Principia and works of other mathematicians such Pierre Simon Laplace and Joseph-Louis Lagrange, soon grasping even the most complex mathematical philosophies.

Mathematical Works

At the age of 24 Boole published ‘Researches on the Theory of Analytical Transformations’, his first paper. This paper won a gold medal from the Royal Society earning him a very respectable position in the world of mathematics. The next decade saw many papers written by Boole that consisted of highly significant discoveries. In 1844, he researched on the use of a combination of algebra and calculus. His paper ‘The Mathematical Analysis of Logic’ was published in 1847, which became the pioneer of modern symbolic logic. His paper on ‘Invariant Theory’ was published in 1841 also proving to be very influential. Other works by George Boole include ‘On a General Method of Analysis’ which was a theory on linear differential equations and ‘Treatise on the Calculus of Finite Differences’. ‘An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities’, published in 1854, is also considered to be one of Boole’s best works.

After being appointed a Professor, in 1849 at the new Queen’s College in Cork, Ireland, Boole was recognized as one of the leading mathematicians of the time. Here he met a woman named Mary Everest who was later to become his life partner and the mother of his children.

In 1857, Boole became elected ‘Fellow of the Royal Society’ also receiving honorary degrees from University of Dublin and Oxford.

Later Life and Death

Even though Boole could not gain the support of his academic peers of the time but today most of his principles and theories are used in the modern day mathematics. ‘Boolean algebra’ and ‘Boolean Logic’ are the living proof of his contribution to the field. ‘Boole’s system’ is another one of his influences, which is based on a ‘binary approach’ meaning only two objects are handled at a time such as yes-no or true-false. He also invented a form of linguistic algebra consisting of three main operations; AND, OR and NOT are still used to carry out basic mathematical functions.

Having done a great deal for mathematics with his innovative theories and brilliant ideas and knowledge, George Boole died on 8th December 1864. He is buried in the Church of Ireland Cemetery.

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