Simanaitis Says

COMPUTERS DO NOTHING MORE than count on two fingers very quickly: Computer logic assigns 1 or 0 respectively to truth or falsity in the on/off presence of an electrical current. Out of this simple process comes our Information Age, which owes its structure to English mathematician George Boole, who in 1848 published The Mathematical Analysis of Logic.

Boolean Algebra, named in the mathematician’s honor in 1913, is a fundamental study of this truth and falsity. Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits on George Boole, many of them gleaned from E.T. Bell’s classic Men of Mathematics.

Men of Mathematics, by E.T. Bell, Touchstone, 1986.

It’s intellectually poignant that my first edition of Bell’s classic was published in 1937, long before computer applications of Boole’s work were fully appreciated. Nonetheless, Bell is such an erudite, witty, and charming biographer that his comments are anything but anachronistic.

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