2 November 2015
George Boole’s 200th Birthday
Here’s an easy, yes-or-no question:
Is the universe complex?
YES, of course, you could say; it would be crazy to think otherwise! But on the other hand, British mathematician George Boole taught us that NO, things can be seen as relatively simple; any values can be pared down to yes or no, true or false, or 0 or 1 (which, here at Google, is our personal favorite).
In 1849, Boole was appointed as the first Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork, where he pioneered developments in logic and mathematics. His beautiful binary “Boolean” system was detailed in An Investigation of the Laws of Thought in 1854, which inevitably enabled revolutionary thinking in not just logic and math, but also engineering and computer science.
As one of the most important scientists to have ever worked in Ireland, Boole effectively laid the foundations of the entire Information Age while working from UCC. So it’s fair to say that without George Boole, there’d be no Google! So, as a tribute to Boole’s contributions, artist Leon Hong created today’s doodle, which cycles through all the ANDs, ORs, NOTs, and even XORs of the Boolean states for two discrete variables.
A very happy 11001000th birthday to genius George Boole!