21st October 2010, 11:39am
Lincoln to celebrate father of all things digital
Time to celebrate Boole Staff at the University of Lincoln are urging the people of Lincolnshire to celebrate George Boole - the Lincoln-born, 19th century mathematician whose algebra is behind our modern technology.

Mobile phones, fridges and computers would not be possible without Boolean logic, and yet academics in the Faculty of Media, Humanities and Technology are concerned that few people in the city realise their connection with the great man.

They now plan to put this right by holding "Boolefest" in the city each year to coincide with Boole's birthday (2 November 1815). The first festival kicks off on Friday 29 October with a performance poetry event and a history talk on Boole's Lincoln.

The programme also includes science, technology and religion lectures and a treasure hunt using GPS, known as geocaching. All events, which are being staged in and around the University's Brayford campus, are free and open to the public.

Headline speaker will be Terry Hoad, president elect of academic union UCU, on Monday 1 November.

Senior lecturer in media and communications Dave Kenyon is organising the festival. He said: "Boole was the self-taught son of a Lincoln shopkeeper, yet he became one of Europe's most highly regarded mathematicians, inventing Boolean logic which was to become the heartbeat of electronic chips. At the time he had no notion of where his ideas would eventually lead.

"Although Boole moved to Cork in later life to teach at the university and is buried there, he never forgot Lincoln and often visited his parents here. He was one of the earliest photographers and proudly showed his Irish friends pictures of Lincoln Cathedral.

"Boole made his mathematical breakthrough here in Lincoln, hence winning the Royal Medal which was the equivalent in those days of winning the Nobel Prize. In Ireland, he published the book that built upon his breakthrough and which is seen as his expression of his developed theory, but we feel we can justifiably lay claim to Lincoln being the cradle of the digital age.

"It's about time he was celebrated properly here and so we're launching Boolefest, which commemorates the man by enjoying the arts and sciences."

This year's programme can be found at www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/events/boolefest.htm
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