George S. Boolos PhD '66
Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy George S. Boolos PhD '66 died May 27 at his home in Cambridge at the age of 55. The death was the result of pancreatic cancer.
Boolos was internationally known as one of the originators of provability logic. He was president of the Association for Symbolic Logic. Boolos was considered an expert in the work of the mathematician and philosopher Gottlob Frege, widely regarded as the founder of modern logic.
Boolos was also an effective teacher because of his remarkable clarity and wit of his explanations. Using only monosyllabic words, Boolos once described accurately Kurt Godel's famous Incompleteness Theorem.
Boolos was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1996 to complete a book on Frege, and he had been recently appointed Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at MIT.
He also enjoyed puzzles, ranging from crossword puzzles to Rubik's Cube. In 1993, he qualified for the London Regional Final of the London Times crossword puzzle competition, where he scored one of the highest scores ever achieved by an American.
Boolos was born in New York City. He then graduated from Princeton in 1961 with a bachelors degree in mathematics. As a Fulbright Scholar, he attended Oxford and studied philosophy. He also holds the first doctorate in philosophy ever given at MIT. He taught at Columbia University for three years before returning to MITin 1969.
Boolos is survived by his mother, Mrs. Stephen Boolos of New York City; his wife, the philosopher Sally Sedgwick of Dartmouth College; and a son by a previous marriage, Peter D. Boolos.