Maths pioneer George Boole to be honoured at UCC

Book of essays on maths professor’s life and contribution to science to be launched

Forefather of the information age, George Boole was honoured in Cork on Wednesday evening with the launch of a book of essays on his life and contribution to mathematics and science.

Boole, the first professor of Mathematics at Queen’s College Cork, now UCC, was born 200 years ago this year and a series of events are planned to mark the anniversary.

According to Cork Boole 200 Family History Project Manager, Olivia Frawley, UCC has organised a series of events to honour Boole who died in Cork in 1864 at the age of 49.

Ms Frawley said that despite a growing global familiarity with ‘Boolean logic,’ Boole remains virtually unknown outside of mathematics and computer science.


The limited collection of essays will be launched by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mary Shields at a reception at Cork City Hall attended by members of Boole's own family

“George Boole’s own family contributed greatly to this publication and their stories give an insight into how his genetic influence was such a powerful one,” said Ms Frawley.

Short histories

The collection includes short histories of Queen’s College Cork and Litchfield Cottage in Blackrock where Boole died as well as a number of previously unpublished images.

Meanwhile Cork City Council is proceeding with plans to acquire a house at Grenville Place near the Mercy University Hospital where Boole lived from 1849 until 1855.

During Boole's time at Grenville Place he wrote his 1854 masterpiece An Investigation of the Laws of Thought in which he expounded his theory of logic and probabilities.

From the first floor window of his house, Boole used the prospect before him to illustrate in his book the theory of probability, while giving a flavour of his living environment.

‘Opposite the window of the room in which I write is a field, liable to be overflowed from two causes, distinct but capable of being combined, viz. floods from the upper sources of The River Lee and the tides from the ocean,” wrote Lincoln born Boole.

Cork City Council plans to carry out works on the building before handing it over to UCC who plan to develop it as an incubation and innovation centre for business start ups.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times