Stott, Alicia Boole

Alicia Boole Stott (1860-1940)

Alicia Boole Stott, a mathematician, was the third daughter of George Boole and was the only child to inherit his mathematical ability. She was essentially self-taught, and her background in geometry was limited to the first two books of Euclid. Introduced to wooden cubes by her brother-in-law Charles Howard Hinton, she began experimenting with them and developed a clear grasp of four-dimensional geometry. She introduced the term polytope to describe convex regular solids in four dimensions.

She found that there were exactly six regular polytopes in four dimensions that are bounded by 5, 16 or 600 tetrahedra, 8 cubes, 24 octahedra or 120 dodecahedra and she produced cardboard models of all these sections.

Independently by analytic means Professor Peiter Schoute of the University of Groningen produced results identical to Boole's result. He persuaded her to publish her work and this was completed in 1900 and 1910 in Holland. Alicia Boole received an honorary Doctorate as part of the tercentenary of the University of Groningen in 1914.

Towards the end of her life Alicia Boole worked with the geometer Coxeter on an investigation of the Gosset's four-dimensional polytope, which had been rediscovered at this time. She invented the processes of expansion and contraction and partial truncation, which led to the discovery of a number of uniform polytopes.

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