20th October 2015, 10:59am
Examining the legacy of Lincoln’s mathematical genius, George Boole
George Boole The incredible legacy of the mathematical genius George Boole will be explored in a free public talk in his home city of Lincoln on the bicentenary of his birth.

Boole was born on 2nd November 1815 into modest family circumstances, the son of a shoe-maker. Largely self-taught, he went on to become one of the world’s finest mathematicians whose work now forms the basis of computer science and electronic circuitry. He laid the foundations of the digital era and is widely recognised as the forefather of the digital age.

On 2nd November 2015 – George Boole Day – Dr Evgeny Khukhro from the University of Lincoln, UK, will deliver a free public talk exploring the Legacy of a Mathematics Revolutionary. Taking place on the University’s Brayford Pool Campus, the event is free to attend and open to all.

Dr Khukhro, Senior Lecturer in Lincoln’s School of Mathematics and Physics, will explain how Boole’s work contributed to a revolution in our approach to logic – a branch of mathematics sometimes called ‘the science of thinking’. Historically, logic was seen as belonging to the field of philosophy and later psychology, however Boole’s work established a new language for describing logic mathematically, as well as creating a new form of algebra.

Boolean algebra is now a fundamental aspect of modern mathematics and over the last century was used to form the theoretical foundation of modern computer science.

Dr Khukhro, a specialist in pure mathematics and a member of the London Mathematical Society, said: “George Boole was a true Lincoln hero. He taught himself to become one of the most influential minds of the 19th century and his work shows us that mathematics is a most creative and forward-looking subject. His development of mathematical logic was revolutionary, particularly for algebra, which is one of the key focuses of our research here at Lincoln. Boole’s intellectual heroism continues to inspire us in our quest for new mathematical discoveries.”

After the publication of Boole’s most famous work, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), the full potential of his ideas lay unrealised for 70 years. American engineer Claude Shannon then recognised the relevance of Boole’s symbolic logic and used it to establish the basis of modern digital computer circuits.

Today Boole’s legacy surrounds us– the modern computing device, whether it is a mobile phone, iPad, tablet computer or mainframe work station is essentially a Boolean calculator where information such as video, photos and audio are digitised and processed.

Dr Khukhro’s talk is part of a series of celebrations in the city of Lincoln marking 200 years since the birth of George Boole.

A parallel lecture, to be delivered by Dr Mark Hocknull , Canon Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral and Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Lincoln, will take place at Lincoln Cathedral on Thursday 29th October. Forming part of the city-wide Frequency Festival of Digital Culture and entitled George Boole: Celebrating Genius, the talk will look back on the life and achievements of the mathematician. Frequency Festival will also host the UK premiere of a new documentary film narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons. The Genius of George Boole will premiere at The Collection in Lincoln on Sunday 25th October.

Places for Dr Khukhro’s public talk can be booked via the University of Lincoln website.

More information about Dr Hocknull’s lecture is available online and to find out more about Frequency Festival, visit: www.frequency.org.uk.