University of Pittsburgh
January 27, 2016

Pitt’s Nicholas Rescher Selected for Helmholtz Medal


Katie Fike


PITTSBURGH—The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities will present its highest scholarly award to Nicholas Rescher of the University of Pittsburgh. He will receive the Helmholtz Medal in recognition of his lifetime achievements at a ceremony in Berlin on June 11. Rescher is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Philosophy within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and a cochairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science.

“I am of course very pleased by the great honor of this award, but particularly so on behalf of my field, seeing that the contributions of philosophy to culture and scholarship are often underappreciated in the present era,” said Rescher.Nicholas Rescher

The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities is an interdisciplinary organization of scholars and scientists, which has approximately 300 elected members. Dedicated to fostering science and scholarship on an international basis, it is the present-day successor and continuator to the Prussian (subsequently German) Academy of Sciences founded by G. W. Leibniz in 1716. The Helmholtz Medal is the academy’s most distinguished award, given every other year to a scientist or scholar of internationally recognized standing. Four of the last dozen awardees have been Nobel Prize winners in the natural sciences.

“Nicholas Rescher is perhaps the last universal scholar of philosophy. As a builder of bridges between philosophical traditions, Rescher has distinguished himself in various subspecialties of philosophy and mathematical logic,” said Martin Grötschel, president of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. “Since he also undertook the reconstruction of Leibniz’s cipher machine, it was obvious to bestow on him a medal of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, which was founded by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.”

Rescher has been on Pitt’s philosophy faculty since 1961. He has served as president of the American Philosophical Association, American Catholic Philosophical Association, American G. W. Leibniz Society, Charles S. Peirce Society, and Metaphysical Society of America and served as secretary general of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science.

Rescher has authored some 100 books encompassing many areas of philosophy. He has a PhD from Princeton University and eight honorary degrees from universities on three continents.