Monday, March 25, 2013

Private funds could help secure scientific heritage

Some positive steps forward could be on the way for number 5 Grenville Place in Cork City, the former home of mathematician George Boole.

The building partially collapsed in October 2010 and has been languishing in a terrible condition since, despite pressure being applied to Cork City Council and others to protect the building as part of Cork's cultural, historic and scientific heritage.

George Boole was the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College Cork (now University College Cork) and is widely regarded as the 'father' of computer science and certainly of Boolean algebra. Boole lived at Grenville Place from 1849 to 1855 and it is where he wrote one of his most important works: An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities.

In March of 2011, Cork City Manager Tim Lucey said that, subject to the consent of the owner, the City Council would "establish the level of interest in its future use/development, from the range of bodies which have expressed views to the Council on its historic importance".

At a Cork City Council meeting earlier this month, Mr. Lucey told councillors that a Building Condition and Feasibility Study had been completed for No. 5 Grenville Plane and had been circulated to University College Cork.

"It has been suggested to UCC that a small working group be established to determine how best to resolve issues and see what possibilities exist to deal with this important building in light of upcoming anniversaries of George Boole in 2014/2015", said Mr. Lucey.

The 150th anniversary of Boole's death falls on 8th December 2014. The 200th anniversary of his birth takes place on 2 November 2015.

The City Manager also confirmed that "preliminary discussions" had taken place between the university where Boole was professor of mathematics and the city council. According to the Irish Examiner, this working group will consider approaching Apple Computers, which has its European headquarters in Cork and other computer and software firms to see if private funding would be available to help preserve this building and Boole's memory in the city.


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