Happy birthday, George Boole!

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George Boole

George Boole (1815-1864).

Computers, smart phones, digital TV and radio — all of these are based on the work of a man who died before electric light bulbs even came on the market. His name is George Boole, born 200 years ago on November 2nd 1815. To celebrate his bicentenary we bring you an introduction to the man and his work, as well as several other articles exploring the world of 0s and 1s that Boole discovered. Enjoy!

George Boole and the wonderful world of 0s and 1s — George Boole was destined to become a cobbler, but ended up laying the foundations for modern digital technology. Here is a quick introduction to his work.

A bright idea — This article further illuminates the connection between logic, binary arithmetic and computers, using the handy analogy of light bulbs.

Codes, computers and trees — Most of us know that computers store information using only 0s and 1s. Here is a gentle introduction to how this works.

Information, decisions and bits — A bit is a unit of information, just as a centimetre is a unit of length. But how can we possibly chop information up in this way?

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • What do chocolate and mayonnaise have in common? It's maths! Find out how in this podcast featuring engineer Valerie Pinfield.

  • Is it possible to write unique music with the limited quantity of notes and chords available? We ask musician Oli Freke!

  • How can maths help to understand the Southern Ocean, a vital component of the Earth's climate system?

  • Was the mathematical modelling projecting the course of the pandemic too pessimistic, or were the projections justified? Matt Keeling tells our colleagues from SBIDER about the COVID models that fed into public policy.

  • PhD student Daniel Kreuter tells us about his work on the BloodCounts! project, which uses maths to make optimal use of the billions of blood tests performed every year around the globe.