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Short biography
Bertrand Russell is perhaps the most important British analytic philosopher of the 20th century.  With the help of Alfred North Whitehead, he wrote Principia Mathematica, a work that attempted to reduce mathematics to logic to discover at least one unshakable piece of knowledge with certainty.  Although the end result was a host of paradoxes, the work itself led to new theories of mathematics, and ultimately ushered in the computer age.  Apart from the philosophy of mathematics, Russell has contributed to every major area of philosophy, and in so doing, has shaped the course of modern philosophy.  He won the Nobel Prize in 1950 and became a staunch anti-nuclear activist near the end of his life.
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