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George Boole inspired Sherlock Holmes’ Moriarty

Open to the public, Emeritus Professor Des MacHale's talk on how Boole inspired Moriarty will be held at UCC's Aula Maxima on August 26 at 8pm.

Open to the public, Emeritus Professor Des MacHale's talk on how Boole inspired Moriarty will be held at UCC's Aula Maxima on August 26 at 8pm.

  • 20 Aug 2015

George Boole inspired the character Professor James Moriarty, the criminal mastermind in Sherlock Holmes, Boole’s biographer Professor Des MacHale will tell an audience at UCC next week. 

A fictional character in some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Moriarty is described by his arch-enemy Holmes as the "Napoleon of crime".

Open to the public, this non-technical talk will be held at UCC’s Aula Maxima on August 26 at 8pm. Professor MacHale will present mathematical, personal, visual, and coincidental evidence to back up his case.

The story is a long and convoluted one and H. G. Wells, a father of science fiction, is a vital link connecting Doyle and Mary Everest Boole, George Boole's wife. Recent evidence is presented on several Cork people with the surname Moriarty.

Professor MacHale is delivering this lecture as part of the George Boole Mathematical Sciences (GBMS) Conference, which is this week welcoming Mathematics experts from across the globe.

“Every computer scientist, mathematician, electrical engineer, and logician on the planet already knows about George Boole,” commented Emeritus Professor Des MacHale.

“If the Boole—Moriarty link can be established, then every literate person on the planet will know about George Boole too.”

Running until August 28, the conference - the first in a series of conferences celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of George Boole, UCC’s first Professor of Mathematics - will feature more than 150 lectures across vibrant areas of modern Mathematical research and enable young Irish mathematicians to interact with world leaders.

Another exciting public lecture will be delivered by Hans Maassen, Professor of Quantum Probability and Quantum Information at the University of Amsterdam, which will consider the role of Boolean logic in Physics, and contrast it with the quantum logic proposed by Birkhoff and von Neumann in 1936. The lecture will be held at the Aula Maxima on August 19 at 20:00.

Other speakers include Professor Matthias Christandl from the University of Copenhagen, who is considered a rising star in Quantum Information Theory. He will discuss quantum channels appearing in quantum cryptography on August 19 at 16:30.

Promoting the George Boole Focus Programme in Mathematical Sciences at the School of Mathematical Sciences (SMS), which upholds UCC as a focal point of mathematical research in Ireland with global visibility, the conference aims to improve the international standing of mathematical research conducted in Ireland.

The themes explored in the conference are Boole and Beyond in Quantum Information Theory (August 17 – 20), From Boole's Algebra of Logic to Boolean Algebra, and Beyond (Aug 27 – 28), Complex and Boolean Networks (Aug 24 – 26), Geometry and Visualization (Aug 26 – 28), Harmonic Analysis (Aug 19 – 22), Invariants from Moduli Spaces (Aug 24 – 27), Mathematical Financial Modelling Post-Crisis (Aug 25 – 27) and Quantum Probabilistic Symmetries and Quantized Boolean Algebras (Aug 20 – 25).

Events embedded in the conference include the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Irish Mathematical Society (Aug 27-28) and Domains XII (August 25-28), an international conference aimed at computer scientists and mathematicians with an interest in the mathematical foundations and applications of computation.

When Boole Meets Shannon, an international workshop exploring the mathematical models, algorithms, and techniques fundamentally rooted in Shannon information theory to design reliable, low power Boolean circuits and systems, takes place on September 1 and 2.

Check out the full programme for the George Boole Mathematical Sciences Conference at:

For queries, contact or 021 420 5558.

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