George Boole (1815 – 1864)

George Boole was an English mathematician, philosopher and logician working in the fields of differential equations and algebraic logic.

He is best known as the inventor of Boolean logic, which became the basis of the modern digital computer. Boole is regarded as a founder of the field of computer science. Boolean algebra provides the basis for analysing the validity of logical propositions because it captures the two-valued character (binary) of statements that may be either true or false. Boole had discovered a new kind of mathematics that would later turn out to be ideal for the manipulation of information within computers. Also, much of the ‘new maths’ studied today by schoolchildren stems from Boole’s work.

In 1937, a number of workers noticed that Boole’s two valued logic lent itself to a description of electrical switching circuits. They showed that the binary numbers (0 and 1), combined through Boolean algebra, could be used to analyse electrical switching circuits and thus used to design electronic computers. Today, digital computers and electronic circuits are designed to implement this binary arithmetic.

Fun fact:

  • 4 of his 5 daughters married people in science [link], Margaret married an artist and then raised 2 sons (of which one became a surgeon the other a mathematician)

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