Reference numberMS/782
TitleMathematical papers of George Boole
DescriptionMathematical and scientific papers.
Extent13 boxes [9 boxes + 5 boxes additional deposit]
ArrangementTopics by date. Finding aid 'A private guide to MS/782' by Gerard Bornet, mid-1990s, in Additional Box 3
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyBorn in Lincoln on 2 Nov. 1815, his father was a small tradesman interested in mechanics and mathematics. Attended the National School in Lincoln and then the small commercial school of Thomas Bainbridge. Engaged in teaching from the age of sixteen, then at twenty opened his own school in the village of Waddington. He devoted every spare minute to the study of Greek, Latin and the modern languages of French, German and Italian. In 1844 while applying the doctrine of the separation of symbols to the solution of differential equations with viable coefficients, he was led to devise a general method in analysis.This paper was printed in the 'Philosophical Transactions' of 1844, and he was awarded the Royal Medal for it. His work had led him to consider the possibility of constructing a calculus of deductive reasoning. He found that logical symbols in general conform to the same fundamental laws which govern the laws of algebra in particular, while also subject to a certain special law. This led to his remarkable essay, ' The Mathematical Analysis of Logic' published in 1847. This demonstrated the calculus of logic, upon the invention of which Boole's fame as a philosophical mathematician rests, and was followed by the publication 'An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on which are founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities' (subsequently known as 'The Laws of Thought) of 1854. In 1849 he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics in the newly formed Queen's University of Cork. He produced two highly regarded textbooks on 'Differential Equations' and 'Finite Differences', and published a number of highly original papers in various journals, including the 'Philosophical Transactions'. In 1852 the University of Dublin conferred on him the honorary title of LL.D., in consideration of his eminent services to the advancement of mathematical science'. In 1857 he was awarded the Keith Medal by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in June of the same year he was elected a FRS. In 1859 at the Oxford Commemmoration he received the honorary degree of D.C.L. In 1855 he married Mary, the daughter of the Rev. T R Everest by whom he had five daughters. He died on 8 December 1864 of a feverish cold and congestion of the lungs.
Related materialUniversity College Cork, correspondence and papers; Trinity College Dublin, papers on symbolic logic; Manuscripts Room, University College London, University of London, correspondence with Augustus De Morgan (83 items) 1842-1864; Department of Manuscripts and University Archives Cambridge, letters to Lord Kelvin 1845-1855 and letters to Lord Stokes 1847-1864.
Fellows associated with this archive
NA6589Boole; George (1815 - 1864); Mathematician1815 - 1864
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