An Electrifying Thinker – Celebrating Richard Price

The life of one of Wales’ most important mathematicians and philosophers, Richard Price, is being celebrated in a lecture given by Professor Iwan Morus FLSW at the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia on 12th January.

The lecture is part of celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of Price’s birth.

“We’re delighted to work closely with the APS and that Professor Morus, one of our Fellows and Trustees, will be giving his lecture in the prestigious surroundings of the Benjamin Franklin Hall,” said Olivia Harrison, Chief Executive of the Learned Society of Wales.

“The LSW and the APS both serve to promote the notion of useful knowledge. That is why we celebrate scientific progress, while recognizing that today’s achievements are often built on knowledge developed centuries earlier.

“Price, as a radical thinker, was more than just a scientist. The recognition of his many talents is a reminder that scholarship does not operate in a vacuum.”

Price was the first Welsh Member of the APS (elected 1785) and he had a great influence on American scientists and political thinkers. His work was the basis for modern statistical science and his mathematical contributions helped lay the foundation for the modern life insurance industry. His Observations on Civil Liberty mounted a strong defence of the American Revolution’s ideals and his writings more generally helped form the ideas behind the Declaration of Independence. He was also a man who knew everybody – or almost everybody – who mattered in the worlds of radical politics and religious dissent during the final decades of the 18th century.

APS Librarian, Patrick Spero, will travel to Cardiff to give a talk on February 28 entitled Revolutionary Friendship: Richard Price, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the Cause of Independence.