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2015 Press Releases

George Boole Chronicles cause a stir

12 Mar 2015
Studying Pond water (1927) (l-r) Fred Coolidge, Jean, Joan and Carmelita Hinton (Photo courtesy of Marni Hinton Rosner).

Previously unpublished images, Victorian recipes and an insight into the personality of George Boole feature in the special edition George Boole Chronicles.

Its launch, in the Lord Mayor’s Chambers, as part of UCC’s George Boole 200 celebrations, captured the spirit of the celebration as city and university unite to remember UCC’s first professor of mathematics.

This selection of short essays relating to Boole includes previously unpublished pictures from the family album allow a glimpse into a part of history often ignored.  A portrait illustration of the young Ethel Lillian (Boole’s youngest daughter), who went on to pen the bestselling novel The Gadfly, will surely be a draw for all Voynich manuscript enthusiasts. Victorian Dining has been captured by well-known food historian, Regina Sexton, who has produced and adapted a Victorian recipe for  ‘College Puddings’ that are bound to inspire all bakers to grab their aprons and stir them up.

Both UCC and the Lord Mayor welcomed Boole’s descendants Marni Hinton-Rosner and Gerry Kennedy to Cork for the launch. Marni is Boole’s great – great granddaughter and the granddaughter of the Putney Schools founder, Carmelita Chase Hinton. She was joined by Gerry Kennedy who is a descendant of George Boole’s brother William. During their time in Cork they viewed the original An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, 1854 which is kept securely in the special collections area of UCC’s aptly named Boole library.


At a special gathering to welcome the family to UCC and to have them sign the visitors book Marni expressed her delight in the George Boole celebrations, “it really is quite amazing how the profile of George Boole has been raised here in the city. The extent of the research from original documents to the engagement of current students as part of the tour experience, is quite something. The whole celebration is fantastic. I am looking forward to returning later on in the year”.

The special limited edition of the George Boole Chronicles, edited by Ms. Olivia Frawley, is available now from the UCC Visitors’ Centre where the George Boole Tours run from- weekdays at 3 pm and Saturdays at 12 noon. To find out all about the George Boole 200 celebrations visit


Additional Information


About Gerry Kennedy is descended from George Boole’s brother, William John Boole.  He is a freelance writer and broadcaster and has written a book about the Hinton’s and their travels which will be published sometime this year through Cork University Press.  He lives in London and  was a consultant on BBC documentary about the Voynich Manuscript .He wrote a book on the Voynich Manuscript which was published by Orion in 2004 see link .


About Marni Hinton- Rosner is George Boole’s great-great granddaughter and Carmelita Chase Hinton’s granddaughter.  Carmelita Chase Hinton founded the Putney School in 1935.  Marni wrote an article about George Boole and the Putney School in the soon to be launched, George Boole Chronicles this Wednesday, 11th March, 2015.  Marni is very much interested in George Boole’s outreach activities.


About the Putney Schools

The Putney Schools stand for a way of life. Putney is a progressive secondary school situated on a working 500 acre farm in southern Vermont. The school is committed to developing each student’s full intellectual, artistic and physical potential. Putney students are encouraged to challenge themselves intellectually, engage in the arts, to work and believe in manual labor, to embrace physical exercise and to ensure community engagement. More about this holistic approach to education here


About George Boole

George Boole (2 November 1815 – 8 December 1864) was an English mathematician and philosopher, most recognised as the inventor of Boolean Logic, which is the basis of modern digital computer logic. He was awarded the first Royal Medal in mathematics for his 1844 On a General Method in Analysis, published in the Transactions of the Royal Society, and was in 1849 appointed first Professor of Mathematics at the Queen's College in Cork (now University College Cork).

Born in 1815 to Mary Ann Joyce (1780-1854) and John Boole (1777-1848) in Lincoln, England, Boole was the son of parents of modest means. His father, a cobbler by trade, had an abiding love of science, literature and mathematics much to the detraction, and ultimate collapse, of his business affairs. George Boole being a deeply religious man had intended as a young man to enter the Ministry but was forced owing to his family's circumstances to teaching, working in Doncaster, Waddington and Liverpool before establishing his own school in Lincoln at age 19.

Though Boole published little except his mathematical and logical works, his acquaintance with general literature was wide and deep. From an early age he was fluent in Greek and Latin, later teaching himself French and Italian so that he might understand continental developments in mathematics. He continued to create new and translated poetical works throughout his life, coming first to fame in 1830 when, as a fourteen year old, the Lincoln Herald published his translation from the Greek of Meleager’s Ode to the Spring. It caused controversy as it was thought too good to be a ‘juvenile production’. His reflections upon scientific, philosophical and religious questions are contained in four addresses upon The Genius of Sir Isaac NewtonThe Right Use of Leisure The Claims of Science and The Social Aspect of Intellectual Culture, which he delivered and printed at different times.

Having though his own self-education and industry secured himself a situation of relative comfort Boole was active in attempting to raise the societal and educational prospects of those less fortunate. His involvement with Lincoln's Mechanics’ Institute, whose object was the ‘…cultivation of Experimental, Natural and Moral Philosophy; and of knowledge in all departments—avoiding Political and controversial Divinity, and also the Lincoln Early Closing Association, whose aim was to reduce the working day for many to explore, in leisure, their continued education was consuming, though not to the detriment of his mathematical research.

Boole's father died in December 1848 before the decision had been made concerning the Irish chairs but an announcement came in August 1849 that Boole was to become the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, Cork, and he took up the position in November. Augustus De Morgan (1806 – 1871), Philip Kelland (1808 – 1879), Arthur Cayley (1821 – 1895), William Thomson (Lord Kelvin, 1824 - 1907) are amongst several distinguished mathematicians who wrote in strong support of his appointment. He taught at the University for the rest of his life, gaining a reputation as an outstanding and dedicated teacher. However the position was not without difficulty as the College became embroiled in religious disputes.

The personal character of Boole inspired all his friends with the deepest esteem. He was marked by true modesty, and his life was given to the single-minded pursuit of truth. Though he received a medal from the Royal Society for his memoir of 1844, the Keith Medal from the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of Dublin, he neither sought nor received the ordinary rewards to which his discoveries would entitle him.

On 8 December 1864, in the full vigour of his intellectual powers, he died of an attack of fever, ending in effusion on the lungs. He is buried in Blackrock, a suburb of Cork.

In 1855 George Boole married Mary Everest (1832-1916), daughter of the minister Thomas Everest and niece to Colonel Sir George Everest (1790-1866) a Welsh engineer after whom Mount Everest is named. They had five daughters:

  • Mary, who married the mathematician and author Charles Howard Hinton and had three children (Howard, William and Joan)
  • Margaret, whose son Geoffrey Ingram Taylor became a mathematician and a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Alicia, who made important contributions to four-dimensional geometry
  • Lucy, a chemist
  • Ethel Lilian, who married the Polish scientist and revolutionary Wilfrid Michael Voynich and is the author of the novel The Gadfly.


About George Boole 200


A year-long celebration of the life and legacy of George Boole was announced by UCC President Michael Murphy to a gathering in UCC’s Aula Maxima in January 2013 in honour of the visit of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) to the university.

Since then, a steering group, originally chaired by Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick (former Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science) and now chaired by the President, has been working intensively on planning a programme for the year.

In preparing for the celebrations we are working closely with Cork City Council and the University of Lincoln.

The celebration of George Boole 200 (1815-2015) will feature an ambitious range of projects and events including:

  • Redevelopment of Boole’s house at 5 Grenville Placein partnership with Cork City Council
  • Conferences: mathematics/computer science
  • Exhibitions: UCC library, connection to Boole’s birthplace in Lincoln
  • Genealogy Project: Boole’s extended family history
  • Outreach to promote the better understanding of science to school children and the general public 
  • Film documentary: Boole’s life and legacy
  • Biography: a revised edition of Professor Des MacHale’s seminal biography
  • Creative arts: statue of Boole, music, works in other media
  • Art and Boole: Exhibition of works at UCC Glucksman Gallery
  • Establishment of the UCC George Boole Institute


University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF