Google celebrates 200th anniversary of pioneering Doncaster maths teacher

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A Doncaster maths teacher who paved the way for the digital revolution is being celebrated by internet giant Google to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth today.

Mathematician George Boole, who worked in Doncaster during the mid 1800s, has had his work marked with one of the search engine’s trademark doodles.

Boole was born in Lincolnshire in 1815 and although he had little formal schooling he became a teacher in Doncaster and by the age of 19 he had established his own school.

At 16, he took a post as usher at Mr William Heigham’s school on South Parade in Doncaster, a very respectable Methodist establishment.

He was much respected for his attainments - but his parents learned of his religious view and they prayed for the sacrilegious master at prayer meetings.

The headmaster was forced to ask George to convert to Methodism or resign - and he chose the latter.

He enjoyed walking and thinking and developed his ideas while strolling on Town Fields, where he came up with a theory of algebraic logic that formed the basis of the binary system that all computer systems are based on.

He then moved away to Liverpool where he developed his career in mathematics, developing his algebraic and logic studies.

Boole is known as the “father of the information age” because of his contributions to modern computer science through his invention of Boolean algebra.

Google’s animated Doodle is a demonstration of the ‘logic gates’ used in computing that are derived from Boolean functions.

Boole died in County Cork, Ireland, in 1864 aged just 49 of pneumonia after he walked for two miles in the rain and then gave a lecture while in his wet clothes.