In 2015, University College Cork celebrated the bicentenary of George Boole, 1815-64. Born in Lincoln, Boole was a mathematical genius who was largely self-taught. His appointment as the first Professor of Mathematics at this college in 1849 provided the opportunity to develop his most important work, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.
Boole is a pivotal figure who can be described as the ‘father of the information age’. His invention of Boolean algebra and symbolic logic pioneered a new mathematics. His legacy surrounds us everywhere, in the computers, information storage and retrieval, electronic circuits and controls that support life, learning and communications in the 21st century.
20 May 2019
The Voynich Manuscript is one of the world’s most mysterious books written in code. The manuscript gets its name from Wilfred Michail Voynich (1865-1930), George Boole’s son-in-law.
Several attempts by world class codebreakers (including Alan Turing) have failed to definitively unravel its meanings. Written in an unknown code, this early fifteenth-century Italian volume, has been described as:
‘the longest, the best known, the most tantalising, the most heavily attacked, the most resistant and the most expensive of all cryptograms.’
11 Apr 2019
It has recently been announced that Prof Geoffrey Hinton (great-great grandson of George Boole) has won the Turing Award 2018 along with Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun - two other proponents of deep learning, a popular form of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This achievement is great news for the field of artificial intelligence and, in particular, machine learning. The Turing Award is widely regarded as the ‘Nobel Prize in Computer Science’.
Such AI is increasingly used in products that people use every day - from smart speakers to Facebook. Deep learning is also seen as a promising, though not flawless, tool for the development of self-driving cars and other futuristic technologies.
14 Mar 2019
Through the George Boole Papers held in UCC Library , we get a great insight into life of an academic living in Cork in the nineteenth century. Boole was obviously a considerate family man and wrote frequently to his family in Lincoln as the collection of his personal papers show. On 17th March 1851, the feast day of St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), he writes to his sister Mary Ann and sympathises with her on her recent ill health. As is the Irish condition, he speaks about the weather and how it might interfere with his plans for the day.
05 Nov 2018
University College Cork are pleased to host Boole book launch:"New Light on George Boole" on 22nd November at 5.45 pm and all are welcome to attend.
28 Sep 2018
UCC will host the launch of new book: "The Continued Exercise of Reason: Public Addresses by George Boole (M.I.T. Press), Ed. Brendan Dooley" on Monday 1st October and all are welcome to attend.
This new book contains lectures, many never before published and offers insights into the early thinking of the mathematician and polymath George Boole.
"George Boole was a great lecturer on many topics, not only a writer on his specialty. The book grew out of a project in UCC library and became an edition of texts representing another side of the great mathematician, to the one usually talked about, and a chance to take a deep dive into a period and culture that are still misunderstood." Prof Brendan Dooley, Professor in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences at UCC
Photo: Prof Brendan Dooley