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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

George Boole (1815-1864)

The Bicentennial of George Boole, the Man Who Laid the Foundations of the Digital Age

Monday, November 2, marks the 200-year anniversary of the birth of the man who put True/False, 0/1, and AND/OR and NOT on the map.

Courtesy Samuel Prout Newcombe
Isaac Newton, Wikipedia tells us, “is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution.”  George Boole(1815-1864) was undoubtedly also one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the digital revolution.  Both men were from Lincolnshire, England, and had Unitarian leanings, which impacted their career paths in the Anglican dominated world of their eras.
Furthermore, both made key mental breakthroughs while enjoying fresh air outdoors.
Newton’s Eureka, or Aha! Moment, was his celebrated musing on falling apples, in 1666 when he was 23, which in due course inspired his development of the theory of gravitation. Boole’s came early in 1833, when he was only 17, while walking across a field in Doncaster:
“He relates that the thought flashed upon him suddenly [], but he laid it aside for many years []. The thought however smouldered in his subconscious and became an integral part of his main ambition is life—to explain the logic of human thought [].”

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