2015 Press Releases

Celebration of George Boole at All-Russian Science Festival

29 Oct 2015
Pictured (l-r): UCC President Dr Michael Murphy met with Professor Alexei Khokhlov, Vice-Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University.

To mark the bicentenary of the birth of George Boole, UCC President Dr. Michael Murphy was invited to deliver a lecture on Boole’s life and legacy at Lomonosov Moscow State University coinciding with the annual All-Russian Science Festival.  

While George Boole is well-known to Russian mathematicians, it is his youngest daughter Ethel who enjoys the wider reputation. Ethel Lilian (Boole-Voynich) is known to all adult Russians as the author of The Gadfly, a standard textbook in Russian schools for many decades.  The book was adapted for film by Aleksandr Faintsimmer while Dmitri Shostakovich composed the score.

In his lecture, Dr Murphy highlighted a quirk of history. Throughout the world it is widely accepted that Claude Shannon at MIT introduced the application of Boolean Logic controlling electrical switches, thus initiating our modern digital society.  

In Russia, however, strong evidence is adduced to the effect that Victor Shestakov, a student at Moscow State University, submitted a thesis in the same year, setting out the same proposition for the use of Boolean Logic.  Shestakov’s thesis wasn’t published until 1941 and only in Russian.

During their visit to Moscow, Dr. Murphy, accompanied by Professor Paul Ross, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science and Dr. Pasha Baranov of the Department of Biochemistry met with the Rector of Moscow State University, Prof. Victor Sadovnichy, held discussions with the Vice-Rector, Prof. Alexei Khokhlov, on a range of partnership opportunities between the two universities and had an extensive meeting with the Heads of the Biomedical Science disciplines.

Building on Marine Science collaborations between our two institutions during the 1990s, it was agreed that academic staff exchange visits should be encouraged and opportunities identified for summer student exchange.



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