Bertrand (Arthur William) Russell
British Philosopher, Mathematician, and Social Reformer
Mathematics Ranking 42nd of 46
Portrait of Alfred North Whitehead
Bertrand Russell’s work on mathematical logic had great influence on symbolic logic and on set theory in mathematics. His major work in this field is Principia Mathematica (1910–13), written with Alfred N. Whitehead. The Principia Mathematica created a powerful stimulus for the growth of mathematical logic because it attempted to express all of mathematics in formal logical terms; and Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), which, by showing that no such enterprise could ever succeed, has led to investigation of the boundary between what is possible in mathematics and what is not. Russell and Whitehead’s Principia helped to establish research into symbolic logic as a major new branch of mathematics.