George Boole was an English mathematician and philosopher, creator of a Boolean algebra – set of activities and concepts underlying science and contemporary logic, which are used widely in mathematics.

George Boole – 200th birthday of the Father of Modern Logic


George Boole was born in 1815 in Lincoln, a small town of approx. 200 kilometers north of London. He learned the basics of mathematics from his father, who was a trader. He took only basic formal education; later languages like Latin ​​and modern mathematics with the help of the local intelligentsia. In those years (the end of the industrial revolution) in Lincoln developed heavy industry; the general climate of fostering science and technology has allowed Boole to earn a livelihood in learning. At age 16, he taught at the local school, and three years later started his own. He spent the rest of his life profession in 1849 he became a professor at the University of Cork in Ireland.

Even before taking up a professorship began to publish scientific papers. He wanted to address in particular the systematization of Aristotelian logic, giving it a mathematical form and facilitating the use of it. He was not happy with his first publications, and in 1854 years gave a more accurate interpretation of his research in his most famous work: “Study the rights of thought”.

From this work Boolean algebra comes out, which showcased that the logic can operate using three binary operations: union, intersection, and negation, and describe the outcome of these operations as a true or false (1 or 0). These three actions can be designated as OR, AND, and NOT – well known as logic gates or programming operations.

Although it later became known even with simpler ways to perform all logic operations (just one action: disjunction – or logical nor NAND – NOR), it became the basis for many practical applications of logic. On similar grounds computers and software have been constructed. Properties of elements and electrical signals, it is convenient to use just Boolean algebra, binary representation of data and operations that are easily realized using a small number of transistors. In most programming languages ​​the word bool or Boolean indicate the type of data, which can take two values ​​(zero and one, falsehood and truth); on for the logical operators often said Boolean or Boolean operations.

It would be great to assert that digital technology and computers are in this era due to the Boole, but he certainly put his hand in the creation of this field in a row with Gottfried Leibniz, Charles Babbage, Alan Turing and others, which we cannot mention here.