You are viewing the content for Wednesday 13 March 2013

Apple could be core of bid to preserve building

Tech giant Apple may be asked to help save the former Cork home of pioneering mathematician George Boole following its partial collapse two years ago.

A group comprised of city council officials and representatives of UCC, where Boole once taught, has been set up to explore options for the city centre property.

City manager Tim Lucey said a building condition and feasibility study had been prepared and presented to UCC, and preliminary discussions had taken place.

He said the group would consider approaching Apple, which has its European headquarters in Cork City, and other computer and software firms to explore collaborations to secure Boole’s legacy.

It is hoped a plan will be ready in time for UCC celebrations to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Boole’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of his death in 2014.

Historian and independent councillor Kieran McCarthy, who raised the issue at Monday’s council meeting, said more needs to be done to save the property.

"This was my fourth question to the city manager on this property in the last two years," said Mr McCarthy. "We need to develop a plan for it. It would be a great heritage project and there is massive scope for it.

"We just need the right people to sit down and thrash it out.

"There are a lot of major historical figures associated with the city that aren’t remembered or honoured properly. We don’t use the city’s history enough."

George Boole, the first professor of mathematics at Queen’s College, Cork — now UCC — is generally regarded as the father of modern computer science.

He specialised in differential equations and algebraic logic, and is credited with inventing the prototype of what is now called Boolean logic, which became the basis of the modern computer and underpins the workings of the internet.

He lived at 5 Grenville Place between the late 1840s and mid 1850s. He also wrote his landmark The Laws of Thought there in 1854. Described as a work of genius in mathematical logic, it presented the laws of Boolean algebra.

His former home is on the council’s list of protected structures. It fell into a state of disrepair in recent years, before suffering a partial collapse of several internal floors in Oct 2010.

Since 2011, the council has spent about €135,000 on major structural engineering works to stabilise the property.

Boole died in 1864 at his home in Ballintemple, Cork, from a lung infection contracted after walking in the rain.

UCC named its library and basement lecture theatre complex after Boole. There is also a Boole crater on the Moon.