Google Doodle today celebrates the 200th birthday of mathematician, logician George Boole, who devised ‘Boolean Algebra and Logic’, that have profoundly impacted our society.
Boole’s alegbra and logic forms the ground work for computer science and engineering. The Google Doodle today is in the form of a Boolean algebraic code and uses “and, or, not, xor” symbols which are core concepts in Boolean algebra.
The different letters of the Google logo light-up based on the logic gates marked under them. For instance, the first g and the second ‘o’ light up when function (x and y) and (x or y) symbol are on.
George Boole was born on November 2, 1815, in Lincoln United Kingdom, the same place as Isaac Newton. Boole was a professor of Mathematics at the University College Cork in Northern Ireland, which is also celebrating his bicentennial birth anniversary this year as well.
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Boole’s most important work was ‘The Laws of Thought,’ first published in 1854 which laid out the rules of logic. However as this blog on Scientific American notes, Boole’s work did not really gain importance till the 1935, nearly a century after his book was first published.
According to a website GeorgeBoole.com, created by University of Cork, Boole taught himself Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, mechanics, astronomy, along with applied and pure mathematics. He was however forced to abandon his education at 16, due to his father’s failed business.
It was Boole’s logic that was used by computer scientist Alan Turing to develop the first digital computer. The world has since not been the same and our digital world owes a great deal to Boolean logic.
George Boole died at the age of 49 due to pneumonia.