Des MacHale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Des MacHale
Des MacHale.jpg
Des MacHale
Born (1946-01-28) January 28, 1946 (age 70)
Castlebar, Ireland,
Residence Cork, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Alma mater University of Keele
Occupation Professor of Mathematics, Author
Known for biography of George Boole

Desmond "Des" MacHale (born 28 January 1946) is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork, Ireland.[1][2] He is a prolific author and speaker on various subjects, most notably George Boole, lateral thinking puzzles, and humour.[3][4]


Des MacHale was born in Castlebar, County Mayo. He earned his BSc and MSc in mathematical science at University College Galway in 1967 and 1968, and completed his PhD at the University of Keele in 1972 under Hans Liebeck. Since then he has been at University College Cork, where his research has focussed on group and ring theory, especially Boolean rings.[1]

In 1985 he published George Boole: His Life and Work, the first book length biography of Boole.[5] In 2014, a year ahead of Boole's bicentennial, this was reissued in revised and expanded form as The Life and Work of George Boole: A Prelude to the Digital Age.

MacHale is a prolific author on various other subjects, including brainteasers and humour. His Comic Sections: The Book of Mathematical Jokes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom is a book which combines two of his passions. He has written over a dozen books of lateral thinking problems with author Paul Sloane,[6] as well as several books about the 1952 American film, The Quiet Man. He speaks often–at schools, on radio, and television–on mathematics, humour, and puzzles.[7]

MacHale is a longtime opponent of smoking, and for decades has played a leading role in the Irish Association of Non-Smokers. He appeared on RTÉ's The Late Late Show as early as the 1980s in an attempt to educate the public about the dangers of smoking.[5]

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honours[edit]

On George Boole Day, November 2, 2015, University College Cork awarded MacHale an honorary doctorate of literature in recognition of his contributions to scholarship on Boole.[8][9][10] On 15 October 2016 Maths Week Ireland presented MacHale with the inaugural “Raising Public Awareness of Maths” award.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b Celebrating George Boole's Bicentenary: Professor Desmond MacHale
  2. ^ "How Dev was nearly lost to science". Irish Times. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Amazon, Books by Des MacHale". 
  4. ^ "Mercier Press, Authors, Des MacHale". 
  5. ^ a b UCC to honour education stars: Desmond MacHale
  6. ^ Kohler, Chris. "Hands On: Sloane and MacHale, New DS Puzzler From Layton Developer". Wired. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Youtube: Des MacHale on humour and puzzles". 
  8. ^ On receiving the award MacHale said, "The world has finally come to realise the genius of George Boole internationally and the United Nations’ declaration this year was a major achievement. Everyone in the world now has heard about George Boole."
  9. ^ Dr Desmond MacHale, Degree of Doctor of Literature University College Cork, 02 Nov 2015
  10. ^ Honorary Conferrings Speeches Archive: Dr Desmond MacHale, Degree of Doctor of Literature Address delivered by Professor John A. Murphy
  11. ^ Des Machale receives(sic) Public Awareness of Maths Award 10th annual Maths Week Ireland
  12. ^ Irish mathematician Des MacHale honoured with Maths Week award by Colm Gorey, Silicon Republic, 16 October 2016.

External links[edit]