Boole came from humble beginnings and worked his way to becoming one of the premier mathematicians of the 19th century
Need motivation to finish that Algebra homework? Make a major mathematical breakthrough and one tech giant might posthumously honor you with a famous Google Doodle.
Today, Google celebrated what would have been the 200th birthday of English mathematician George Boole whose ‘Boolean Algebra’ is the theoretical foundation for the modern computer.
In 1854, Boole’s binary approach to math and logic — processing only two functions (on/off, yes/no, zero/one) — influenced modern computing, satellite pictures and even Einstein’s theory of relativity.
While Boole himself did not have the Electrical Engineering background necessary to implement the theory into concrete results, an MIT grad student named Claude Shannon leveraged the idea 83 years later.
Using Boolean logic, Shannon built electrical circuits that eventually led to the modern computer.
Boole rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most formidable mathematicians of the 19th Century. Born in Lincoln, England, Boole was the son of a shopkeeper and it was his father who passed along the love for math.
At the age of 24, Boole published a paper called ‘Researches on the Theory of Analytical Transformations’ in the Cambridge Journal. Four years later, he received the Royal Society Gold Medal for Mathematics.
By the time Boole published his algebraic theory, he was a well-known and respected member of the academic community.
In the middle of a nice career, Boole died of a lung infection in 1864 after walking through the rain and then lecturing in his wet clothes.
The animated doodle is loosely based on Boolean logic. Black dots represent x and y and, based on patterns, the G-O-O-G-L-E light up accordingly.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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