Cheryl Misak presents Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers

On September 21, 2023 the F.E.L. Priestley Lecture Series proudly welcomed Dr. Cheryl J. Misak (BASc (BA) '83) to the University of Lethbridge to present, Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers.

Frank Ramsey, the great Cambridge philosopher, economist, and mathematician, died in 1930 at the age of 26. He was one of the most original thinkers of the last century. He was at least Wittgenstein’s equal in philosophy and a major influence on his difficult friend. A fruitful branch of mathematics (Ramsey Theory) is named after him. He founded two branches of economics and, in figuring out how to measure degrees of belief, he laid the basis for contemporary economics and social science.  

His life was as exciting as his mind. He began his Cambridge undergraduate degree just as the Great War was ending; he was part of the race to be psychoanalyzed by Freud and his students in Vienna during the 1920s; and he was part of the Bloomsbury set of writers and artists. When Virginia Woolf met the 20-year-old Ramsey, she described him ‘as something like a Darwin, broad, thick, powerful, & a great mathematician, & clumsy to boot.’ He had important things to say about politics and the meaning of life.  

In this talk, Ramsey’s biographer, Dr. Cheryl Misak, will convey the excitement of this brilliant life and mind with the help of some soundbites from the past.

Dr. Cheryl Misak obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge in 1983, then an MA in Philosophy at Columbia and a DPhil at Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2009, she was recognized by the University of Lethbridge as the Distinguished Alumna of the Year. She is the author of six books, the last being Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers. The playwright Tom Stoppard chose it as his book of the year and it was reviewed in the Wall Street JournalThe New Yorker, and many other venues. Learn more.

Author Dr. Cheryl J. Misak (BASc (BA) '83) presents "Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers"

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