George Boole, English mathematician, c 1840s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
George Boole (1815-1864) was profesor of mathematics at Cork, Ireland, and the originator of Boolean algebra. Boole was almost entirely self-educated, which makes his achievements all the more remarkable. His work on logical relations using mathematical symbolism was very influential, and he became a pioneer of modern symbolic logic. Boolean algebra has been applied to telephone switching, and to modern computer design. He also did important work differential equations and finite logic.