was a 17th
Century Dutch rationalist philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origins. His work was instrumental in the dawning of the Enlightenment, his greatest work being ‘Ethics
’ (published posthumously in 1677). He repeatedly turned down accolades and prestige throughout his life, preferring a modest and quiet existence as a lens grinder; this only earned him further admiration from his peers. The annual Spinoza Prize
in the Netherlands has been awarded in his name since 1995 to further scientific research.