University College Cork (UCC), which describes itself on its website as "the academic home of George Boole," is preparing a number of events in celebration of the 200th birthday of Boole, the English logician, mathematician, and philosopher who introduced what has become known as Boolean algebra and Boolean logic.
Born in Lincoln, England in 1815, Boole became a schoolteacher, and pursued research in mathematics in his spare time. In 1844, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society in London for his paper On a General Method in Analysis. He was named UCC’s first professor of mathematics in 1849, and is often said to have laid the foundations of the Information Age, as his work laid the foundations for modern mathematics, microelectronic engineering, and computer science.
Last November, the university launched a year-long celebration of Boole’s bicentenary, to include a wide range of high-profile projects and events commemorating his contributions in the fields of mathematics, computer science, and engineering. In addition, a series of legacy initiatives are planned, both to inspire and to fund the next generation of talent in those disciplines.
Speaking at the launch of the commemorative year, Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny said Boole’s "remarkably beautiful work is integral to cybernetics, logic, information theory, computer science; every time we turn on a laptop or take a call on our mobile phone or a cold drink from the fridge, we can thank George Boole.
"He was extraordinary, not alone in the brilliance and fineness of his mind but in the depth of his heart. His compassion for his fellow human beings, his sense of responsibility towards them, saw him make a significant contribution both to adult education and the learning and welfare of the poor and the excluded."
Highlights of the George Boole 200 celebration include:
- Restoration of No.5 Grenville Place, Boole’s first home in Cork.
- An official film biography of George Boole.
- An interactive tour "led" by George Boole, featuring key locations on the UCC campus where Boole taught will be provided to the public, starting in February.
- The exhibition Boolean Expressions: Contemporary Art and Mathematical Data will begin July 30 and run through Nov. 8 at UCC’s Lewis Glucksman Gallery.
- The George Boole 200 Inaugural Lectures will kick off on Feb. 5 with Muffy Calder, professor of computing science at the University of Glasgow, and Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, addressing Boole’s legacy. The event will be live-streamed. For more information, visit: http://www.georgeboole.com/events/lectures/george-boole-200-inaugural-lectures.html
- UCC will host a series of conferences to celebrate Boole’s work and legacy. The Mathematical Sciences Conference is scheduled for Aug. 17; the Boole Bicentenary Celebrationon his achievements and multiple legacies is scheduled for Aug. 28-30; the 21st International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming and the 31st International Conference on Logic Programming are both scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 4, and a conference on engineering is slated for some time in September.
- A series of outreach events to primary school children is planned to celebrate Boole and demonstrate his relevance to today’s’ younger generation. One of these is the ‘I Wish’ event, led by Cork Chamber of Commerce and Cork City Council, which will give 1,000 female transition-year students the chance to meet female entrepreneurs and other female role models from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
- On the 200th anniversary of Boole’s birth on November 2, a celebration will include the conferring of honorary degrees on leaders in the fields of mathematics and information technology from around the world.
Other events at UCC and elsewhere are expected to be added to George Boole 200 during the course of the year. For the latest news on George Boole 200, visit www.georgeboole.com.