Great Thinkers

Ireland has a strong historical connection with computational thinking and thinkers.


Alan Turing (1912 - 1954), regarded as the father of computer science, was perhaps the greatest computational thinker of all, laying the foundations of computer science and making important contributions to mathematics and philosophy. Alan had grandparents from Tipperary and Longford, and his mother was raised in Co. Clare, later moving to Dublin in 1891 and marrying Alan's father at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Ballsbridge in 1907.




George Boole (1815-1864) developed Boolean logic while working in Cork University in the 1840s. This form of logic now provides the foundations of all digital information processing. Boole was later finished off by the Irish weather after deciding to walk from his home to the university without an umbrella. He got soaked in an unexpected rain shower and subsequently contracted a fatal dose of pneumonia.




Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was one of the most famous philosophers of the 20th century, developing the philosophy of ordinary language. He worked on his hugely influential book, Philosophical Investigations, while sitting on a park bench in the Botanic Gardens, and also in Mayo and Wicklow in 1948-49.




George Berkeley (1685-1753), Bishop of Cloyne, was an Irish philosopher who developed the theory of idealism. His theory denies the existence of material substance, proposing instead that objects cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley was born in County Kilkenny and studied at Kilkenny College and Trinity College Dublin, where he later went on to lecture. The Berkeley library in Trinity and the city of Berkeley in California are named after him.




William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865) was an Irish physicist, astronomer and mathematician who made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics and algebra. On 16th October 1843 he discovered the mathematical concept of quaternions while walking along the Royal Canal in Dubiln and carved the equation into the side of Broom Bridge using his penknife. Every year NUI Maynooth organizes a pilgrimmage where mathematicians retrace Hamilton's route from Dunsink Observatory to the bridge in Cabra where he made his discovery.


Our new BSc in Computational Thinking will continue the legacy of great thinking in Ireland.