The Biography of George Price

The Biography of George Price, an American mathematician and evolutionary biologist who made significant contributions to population genetics.

He was born in New York City on January 9, 1922, and passed away on January 6, 1975, in London, England.

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Early Life and Education of George Price

The Biography of George Price
The Biography of George Price

George Price was born to Jewish parents, and his father was a businessman. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1943 with a degree in chemistry and physics.

During World War II, he worked as a chemist for the U.S. government before enrolling at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in physics in 1949.

Contribution to Population Genetics

After completing his Ph.D., Price worked as a research scientist at the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he became interested in population genetics.

He developed mathematical models explaining how natural selection works at the genetic level, including the concept of the “selfish gene.”

The Price Equation

Price’s most significant contribution to the field of population genetics was the development of the Price Equation.

This equation provides a mathematical framework for understanding the evolutionary forces that shape the distribution of traits in a population over time.

It has become a standard tool in evolutionary biology and applied to various biological systems, including animal behavior and cultural evolution.

Religious Conversion of George Price

In the 1970s, Price became interested in religion and underwent a profound religious conversion.

He devoted himself to the study of theology. However, he never lost his fascination with science and continued to think deeply about the relationship between science and religion throughout his life.

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Altruism and Game Theory

Price’s later work focused on the problem of altruism, which had long been a puzzle in evolutionary biology.

He developed a mathematical theory of cooperation, known as “Price’s Equation of Altruism,” which showed how cooperation could evolve without directly benefiting the individual.

His work on altruism and cooperation had a significant impact on the field of game theory.

In the 1960s, economist George Price changed the way many people viewed altruism and introduced a model called the Price theory of social organization.

Price argued that altruism exists in all species but only benefits those who sacrifice themselves to help others.

This idea has allowed scientists to build simulations of society using computers.

In this well-written, engaging book, George Price argues that altruism is not the natural state of human beings but rather a byproduct of evolution.

According to Price and several colleagues, humans have one very important inborn trait: they can recognize the self from others.

But this ability has always been short-circuited by social rules and sanctions that keep people honest. This book presents a fascinating new way to understand ethics.

The Tragic End of George Price

Despite his contributions to science and religion, Price struggled with thyroid disease and depression.

In 1975, he tragically committed suicide in a squat in London, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking research in evolutionary biology and a profound reflection on the relationship between science and spirituality.

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Rounding Up

Rounding up on this biography of George Price, it is paramount to state that he was a remarkable scientist and thinker who significantly contributed to population genetics.

His development of the Price Equation and his work on altruism and game theory have impacted evolutionary biology and related fields.

His tragic end serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health and the challenges that even the most brilliant minds can face.


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