Boole (Stott), Alicia (1860–1940)
Alicia Boole was the third daughter of George Boole
and an important mathematician in her own right. At the age of 18, she was
introduced to a set of wooden cubes devised by her brother-in-law Charles
Hinton as an aid to visualization of the
fourth dimension. Despite having
had no formal education, she surprised everyone by becoming adept with the
cubes and developing an amazing feel for four-dimensional geometry. She
introduced the word "polytope" to describe
a four-dimensional convex solid, and went on to explore the properties of
the six regular polytopes and to make 12 beautiful card models of their
three-dimensional central cross-sections. She sent photographs of these
models to the Dutch mathematician Pieter Schoute (1846–1923), who
had done similar work and with whom she subsequently published two papers.
The models themselves are now housed in the Department of Pure Mathematics
and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University.