George Boole who is famous for his work called the Boolean algebra, belonged to Lincoln, England. He was born there on November 2, 1815 to John Boole and Mary Ann Joyce. His father was a cobbler but had great interest in science. Later in 1853, he worked as a curator for the library of Lincoln Mechanics’ Institution.
Boole did not receive any formal education in his early age. With the help of his father who himself taught him mathematics, optical instruments and modern languages, and books provided to him by Sir Edward Bromhead, FRS; Boole gained knowledge and enhanced his skills in mathematics that helped him greatly in the future.
At the age of sixteen, Boole started financially supporting his family by teaching in village schools in West Riding of Yorkshire. At twenty years of age, he established his own school in Lincoln. Even during teaching he continued his self-study in mathematics from the Lincoln Mechanics’ Institution. He read many journals, research papers and works of previous famous mathematicians, including Principia by Isaac Newton, Traité de mécanique céleste by Pierre Simon Laplace, Mécanique analytique by Joseph Louis Langrange etc.
After a lot of study, Boole started creating his own work. The very first one was on calculus of variations. In 1839, he started submitting his articles to be published in the Cambridge Mathematical Journal. His first article was titled as Researches on the Theory of Analytical Transformations and covered topics of differential equation, linear transformation and invariance. His paper titled as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, in which he presented combination of algebra and calculus, earned him a gold medal by the Royal Society in 1844.
George Boole is not only known as a mathematician but also a great logician. He established the fact that logic is very much related to mathematics and presented this idea in his paper, Mathematical Analysis of Logic in 1847. Although, Boole had never received any degree, his published works showed his genius and led him to Queen’s College as a mathematics professor in 1849.
In 1854, Boole presented and explained the idea of dealing with fundamental laws governing the society by probability theory in his book, An Investigation into the Laws of Thought, on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. Boole’s research works on linking logic, symbols and algebra together; proved to be of great importance for him as a mathematician. What he called the Algebra of Logics later became popular as Boolean Algebra and served as the basis in designing of electronic and digital computer circuits and telephone systems.
Some of Boole’s noticeable publications have also been found from the late 1850s. In 1857, he introduced and proved the Boole’s identity in On the Comparison of Transcendents, with Certain Applications to the Theory of Definite Integrals. Then he worked on general symbolic method in 1859 in Treatise on Differential Equations. In 1860, he got Treatise on the Calculus of Finite Differences published in which his new discoveries were found and it was sequel to his previous year’s work
In 1857, Boole became a fellow of the Royal Society and the University of Dublin and the University of Oxford granted him with an honorary degree of LL.D. His mathematical journey continued until 1864, when he passed away on December 8, 1864. The University College Cork in Ireland named one of its centers after him as the Boole Centre for Research in Informatics.