Bicentenary of mathematician George Boole to be celebrated

First professor of maths at UCC left huge legacy that impacts on modern technology

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today join with the president of University College Cork Dr Michael Murphy to launch next year's celebration to mark the bicentenary of the birth of leading mathematician, George Boole.

Dr Murphy described Boole, the first professor of mathematics at UCC, as “a self taught mathematical genius who is widely regarded as one of the most significant pioneers of the information age”.

Dr Murphy said it was timely to launch the programme of events for Boole’s Bicentenary in the week that the Web Summit takes place in Dublin as he paved the way for the advances in technology that ICT and STEM leaders are showcasing at the summit.

“Some 200 years after his birth, George Boole remains a beacon of academic excellence and the influence of his theories of logic and probabilities are as powerful today as they were back in the 1800s,” he said.


Boole became the first mathematician to be awarded the Gold Medal for Mathematics by the Royal Society in 1844 and four years later was appointed the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College Cork, now UCC.

“At UCC we are hugely proud of George Boole who was originally from Lincoln and he serves as the ultimate ambassador to our long tradition of independent thinking – a trait he epitomised in his lifetime,” said Dr Murphy.

The year of celebrations, promoted under the banner of “George Boole 200”, will span a wide mix of ambitious projects and events and will culminate in “George Boole Day” when his birthday on November 2nd will be commemorated.

Among the events planned for the Bicentenary celebrations is a major restoration by UCC in conjunction with Cork City Council of Boole's home at No 5 Grenville Place in Cork where he wrote his masterpiece "An Investigation of the Laws of Thought" in 1854.

An official film biography of Boole will be aired in 2015 and Prof Des McHale’s seminal biography of Boole will be republished while a digitisation of Boole’s work will be displayed as a permanent art installation in the Boole library at UCC.

“Three international conferences will also be held to celebrate the work and legacy of Boole. The conferences will feature many world renowned academics and personalities who are distinguished in the fields of mathematics and computer science,” said Dr Murphy.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times