Biography: Bertrand RussellBertrand Arthur William Russell (b.1872 - d.1970), British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic, best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most influential contributions include his defense of logicism (the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic), and his theories of definite descriptions and logical atomism. Along with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the founders of analytic philosophy. He is also usually credited with being one of the two most important logicians of the twentieth century, the other being Kurt Gödel.
Over the course of his long career, Russell made significant contributions, not just to philosophy, but to a range of other subjects as well. Many of Russell's writings on a wide variety of topics (including education, ethics, politics, history, religion and popular science) have influenced generations of general readers. After a life marked by controversy (including dismissals from both Trinity College, Cambridge, and City College, New York), Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Also noted for his many spirited anti-war and anti-nuclear protests, Russell remained a prominent public figure until his death at the age of 97.
A short chronology of the major events in Russell's life is as follows:
(1872) Born May 18 at Ravenscroft, Wales.
(1874) Death of mother and sister.
(1876) Death of father. His grandfather, Lord John Russell (the former Prime Minister), and grandmother succeed in overturning his father's will to win custody of Russell and his brother.
(1878) Death of grandfather. His grandmother, Lady Russell, supervises his upbringing.
(1890) Enters Trinity College, Cambridge.
(1893) Awarded first class degree in mathematics.
(1894) Awarded first class degree in moral sciences.
(1894) Marries Alys Pearsall Smith.
(1900) Meets Peano at International Congress in Paris.
(1901) Discovers Russell's paradox.
(1902) Corresponds with Frege.
(1908) Elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
(1916) Fined 110 pounds and dismissed from Trinity College in connection with anti-war protests.
(1918) Imprisoned for six months in connection with anti-war protests.
(1921) Divorce from Alys and marriage to Dora Black.
(1927) Opens experimental school with Dora.
(1931) Becomes the third Earl Russell upon the death of his brother.
(1935) Divorce from Dora.
(1936) Marriage to Patricia (Peter) Helen Spence.
(1940) Appointment at City College New York revoked following public protests.
(1943) Dismissed from Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania.
(1949) Awarded the Order of Merit.
(1950) Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.
(1952) Divorce from Peter and marriage to Edith Finch.
(1955) Releases Russell-Einstein Manifesto.
(1957) Organizes the first Pugwash Conference.
(1958) Becomes founding President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
(1961) Imprisoned for one week in connection with anti-nuclear protests.
(1970) Dies February 02 at Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales.
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