With an IQ of at least 180, it’s fair to say that Bertrand Russell was an incredibly intelligent man. A philosopher, logician and mathematician, Russell wrote the essay ‘On Denoting’, which has been described as one of the most influential essays in philosophy in the 20th Century.
Here’s the “TL;DR” on his works: Russell believed that the goal of both science and philosophy was to understand reality, not simply to make predictions. He wrote that the physical world around us is just an abstract structure - and his works were so influential that he went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.
This man is responsible for not only destroying the foundations of mathematics but for rebuilding them too. The Russell Paradox shook the core of academia in 1903 by challenging the axioms that mathematics were based on by suggesting that the set of all sets could not contain itself. The analogy Russell used is this;
If a barber is “the person who shaves the beards of men in a village that do not shave themselves”, does he shave himself? If he shaves himself, he ceases to be the barber; but if he doesn’t shave himself, he fits into the group of people who should be shaved by the barber, so he has to shave himself, right?
As if to make up for breaking everyone’s brains with logic, in his 1910 book Principia Mathematica, he casually proved that 1+1=2. But even though ol’ Berty proved the rules, he didn’t always play by them. In fact, on two occasions, he was arrested and jailed for political activism.