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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
Bertrand Russell

(1872–1970, 3rd earl Russell 1931)
Philosopher and mathematician, grandson of the prime minister Lord John *Russell, whose special skill was the application of mathematical logic to philosophical problems. A similar clarity was characteristic of his prose, with the result that his History of Western Philosophy (1945) became a bestselling popular work on the subject. He had made his professional reputation with A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz (1900) and The Principles of Mathematics (1903).

He then collaborated with his former teacher at Cambridge, A.N. Whitehead (1861–1947), in developing the principles of mathematical logic; they gave their joint work a title already used by *Newton, Principia Mathematica (3 vols, 1910–13). At that same period Russell himself became the teacher of *Wittgenstein, and found his own philosophical tenets challenged and somewhat undermined by his brilliant pupil. Russell was irritated, on one occasion, at not being able to get Wittgenstein to agree that there was certainly no rhinoceros in the room.

The First World War introduced another important theme in Russell's life, that of pacifism and political protest. He was fined £100 in 1916 for a pamphlet in defence of a conscientious objector, and was removed from his lectureship at Trinity, Cambridge; in 1918 he was imprisoned for six months for an article which was judged, in the atmosphere of the time, to be seditious. But more than anything it was the threat of nuclear war in the 1950s which spurred him to action. After the first American H-bomb tests on the Bikini atoll, in 1954, he organized an anti-nuclear manifesto signed by Einstein and other scientists.

In 1958 he became the first president of *CND, and he later headed the more militant Committee of 100. With them, at the age of 88, he took part in a mass sit-down in Whitehall in 1961; sentenced to two months in prison, he was released after a week for medical reasons. For much of the rest of his life, through his nineties, he became a slightly pathetic figure, taking exaggerated political stances in which he was orchestrated by an American follower, Ralph Schoenman.

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