Menu Close

EN | Personajes ilustres – Boole

Boole, George ( 1815 - 1864 )

Boole was a British mathematician, born on 2 November 1815 in Lincoln, England.

He received his first mathematics lessons from his father. He descended from an impoverished family, which he had to support, which meant he had to give up the idea of becoming a monk.

When he was 16 years old, he took a teaching position at a public school in West Riding, Yorkshire.

At the age of 20 years, he opened his own school in Lincoln, where he started to read the works of great physicists and mathematicians, including Newton, Laplace, Lagrange and began to solve algebra problems.In 1839, he published Researches on the Theory of Analytical Transformations in the Cambridge Mathematical Journal. Around that time, he was given the opportunity to enter Cambridge. He turned down the offer, again because of his family obligations.

In 1844, he published an important article in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, describing the possibility of combining the methods of calculus and algebra. In the same year, he was distinguished with the medal of the Royal Society for his contributions to analysis.

In 1847, he published The Mathematical Analysis of Logic, developing new ideas about logical methods with regard to the possibility of a union between logic and mathematics. This is known as Boolean algebra, which he developed from 1847 to 1854.

Ilthough he had no university degree, he was appointed professor of mathematics at Queen’s College, Cork, in 1849, where he spent the rest of his life.

In 1854, he published An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on which are founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities, which he considered to be the mature expression of his ideas.

In 1855, he married Mary Everest, granddaughter of Sir George Everest (after whom the mountain was named) with whom he had five daughters. Also in 1855, he established an original and notable symbolic method of logical inference and tested a general probabilities method.

Boole’s greatest discovery was to apply a series of symbols to logical operations, assuring through careful selection that they had the same logical structure as conventional algebra . Boolean algebra symbols can be manipulated according to fixed rules that produce logical results. Boole’s profoundest reasonings are applied in electronic computers, which use binary digits to enable a series of two-alternative routines in the mathematical instructions sequence.

In 1857, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1859, he published Treatise on Differential Equations, whose sequel, Treatise on the Calculus of Finite Differences published in 1860, was used for many years as a textbook.

Boole died on 8 December 1864 in Ballintemple, County Cork.