George Boole's Impact On Mathematics Essay

882 words - 4 pages

“He had a better mind and a more rigorous temperament than me; he thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought. Whereas most of us, I suspect, do the opposite: we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it. And call the result common sense.” This quote, by Julian Barnes, embodies the reason George Boole was my choice for my mathematician. I have always been fascinated by logic and reasoning, possibly because I constantly find myself in arguments which I prefer to call friendly debates. The first thing I did to determine my mathematician was turn to Amazon to find a good short book that I might find interesting from any of the options. After stumbling upon "The Mathematical Analysis of Logic: Being an essay towards a calculus of deductive reasoning" I realized I had found my Mathematician. George Boole was a highly influential logical mathematician who transcended mathematics and tied it into everything around us.

Mr. Boole was born 1815 in Lincolnshire, England. His father was a shoemaker by trade but known for having a passion for reading about science and technology, in this case the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Coming from a family with little means George didn't get a what one would call a top notch formal education, but he gain great knowledge from his father and the books he went on to read. Boole started working at age 16 as a school teacher and opened up his own school at 19. In 1849 he went on to become a professor at the newly created Queens University in Cork, Ireland. He was expected at an early age to help support his family and all while doing so became an esteemed mathematician and logician. In 1855 he married Mary Everest, the daughter of the famed surveyor and whom Mt.Everest was named after, they had 5 children(Mary Ellen, Margaret, Alicia, Lucy, and Ethel Lilian). Sadly enough Mr. Boole passed far too early at age 49 of a pneumonia after walking through a rainstorm and then proceeding to do a lecture in wet clothes.

As stated George did not particularly have an extensive formal education, mostly self educated through reading Mr. Boole was able to overcome his families poverty to become an expert in Mathematician and Logic. At a young age Boole was influenced by Sir Edward Bromhead, then growing on to develop meaningful friendships with Reverend G.S. Dickson, Duncan F. Gregory, Arthur Cayley, William Thomson, and Lord Kelvin. His greatest achievement was arguably in winning a Gold Medal...

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