About Lincoln
George Boole

The grandfather to digital culture was born and lived in Lincoln

George Boole, the inventor of “Boolean Logic” and unwitting grandfather to our digital culture, was born in the early 19th century in Lincoln - one of the city's greatest minds.

Boole was born on November 2nd 1815, at 34 Silver Street, Lincoln - his home no longer exists but was near the large nightclub now on the street.

He was christened at St Swithins Church and attended the church in his early life; the minister there encouraged him in his mathematics, lending him a book on differential calculus.

A plaque stands in Boole's memory on the site where the church stood when he attended, further along St Swithins Square than the current church building.

Boole opened his own school in 1834 very close to St Swithins Church, on Free School Lane aged just 19. Also nearby was Lincoln Mechanics Institute of which Boole's father was a founding member and where Boole lectured - in the old Grammar School, the Greyfriars.

Boole also founded a school on Pottergate near Lincoln Cathedral which is also where his home is said to have been. It was at this school that Boole conducted his last teaching in Lincoln and where he won the Gold Medal from the Royal Society, in 1844. A plaque is found at 3 Pottergate in Boole's memory.

Boole was keen to further his skills in higher mathematics and, with limited opportunities in Lincoln, took up a professorship at Queen's College Cork, Ireland, moving there in 1849.

It was in Cork that he met his wife and started a family, eventually having five daughters. Boole ended his days here on December 8th 1864, dying prematurely aged only 49.

Friends of Boole still in Lincoln raised funds to create a memorial for the mathematician in Lincoln Cathedral: The Teaching Window. The stained glass window, found in the fourth window of the north wall of the cathedral, depicts the calling of Samuel, his favourite Bible passage, at the request of his widow.

Although he was recognised as a genius in his own lifetime, it was not until almost a century later that the far-reaching implications of Boole’s work would become apparent.

An American electronics engineer named Claude Shannon realised Boole’s logic could be applied in producing electrical circuits: a discovery that started the digital revolution. Today even the most advanced computers and smart devices still depend on Boolean logic.


You can also use our free interactive trail to make your way around Lincoln to see the links to Boole's life that remain.

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