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Monday, November 2, 2015

Google doodle celebrates 200th birth anniversary of George Boole

Everyday passes with googling something.  I am one impressed by Google doodles ~ and post on them too… today saw one which first made me google on Lincolnshire, which otherwise I would not have read [think that it is not part of English Cricket league !].  Lincolnshire is a historical county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire [both play cricket !!] and more.  

Today’s interesting doodle in on the Lincolnshire-born academic, widely heralded as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th century, devising a system of logic that aimed to condense complex thoughts into simple equations. His legacy was Boolean logic, a theory of mathematics in which all variables are either "true" or "false", or "on" or "off". The theory preceded the digital age.   2015 sees the 200th anniversary of his  birth and marking the bicentenary year, University College Cork joins  admirers of the man  around the world to celebrate his life and legacy. Google's animated Doodle illustrates the logic gates that are used in computing and are derived from Boolean functions.

The first "g", the two "o"s, the "l" and "e" in the Google logo light up based on the logic gates underneath them. When the "x" and "y" in the second "g" light up, they are on, activating other letters at different times.  Honestly, too much for a man whose understanding of Maths at school level itself was poor. 

The man is George Boole and naturally today there would be thousands of more searches on ‘ Who he is ?’- curiosity aroused by the doodle of the day.

George Boole 1815 -  1864) was an English mathematician, educator, philosopher and logician. He worked in the fields of differential equations and algebraic logic, and is best known as the author of The Laws of Thought. According to, a University College Cork website dedicated to him, "his legacy surrounds us everywhere, in the computers, information storage and retrieval, electronic circuits and controls that support life, learning and communications in the 21st century.  "His pivotal advances in mathematics, logic and probability provided the essential groundwork for modern mathematics, microelectronic engineering and computer science."

Born 200 years ago on November 2, his algebraic approach to logic, in which all values are reduced to either "true" or "false", drives people today.  He also devised a type of linguistic algebra, now known as Boolean algebra, the three most basic operations of which are "and", "or" and "not".  In layman's terms his theory of logic is premised on predicting what happens for each of these binary states.

A largely self-taught child prodigy, Boole never attended university and was forced to leave school at 16 years old after his father's shoe business collapsed. He became an assistant teacher the same year and opened his own school when he was 20.  He was just 24 when he published his first research paper.  In 1849, he was appointed the first professor of mathematics at Queen's College, Cork  in Ireland.  Boole died of pneumonia in 1864, when he was 49 years old, after he walked two miles through cold rain and then lectured wearing his wet clothes !

As we know, the Google search page is not plain.  It has Google logo and many a times animated expressions – which keep changing.  Google has had several logos since its renaming from BackRub.  These special logos, some designed by Dennis Hwang, have come to be known as Google Doodles.~ and today is  the mathematical one on ‘George Boole’. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Nov. 2015.  

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