John F. Nash – June 2019

“He is a mathematical genius.”, Carnegie Professor, Richard Duffin wrote about John Nash in a letter of recommendation to Princeton University.

From Bluefield, West Virginia, John Forbes Nash was one of the highest regraded mathematicians in the country during his life. His focus of practice was studying the short term and long term decision making properties of complex systems in everyday life. Many of his theories are still used in economics today. His work has and will forever be recognized as some of the most important in his field. In 1952, after compiling much of his research into differential equations, Nash published a paper titles “Real Algebraic Manifolds” in the Annals of Mathematics.

At the young age of 31, Nash began to show signs of mental illness. After spending more than a decade in and out of psychiatric hospitals and receiving multiple types of treatments for paranoid schizophrenia, Nash’s illness started to show signs of improvement. By the mid 1980’s, John Nash was was able to return to his academic work. Just a few years earlier in 1978, John was awarded the John Von Neumann Theory Prize. In 1995, Nash began in informal association with Princeton University and became a research mathematician at the institution.

In 2001, Director, Ron Howard released the film, A Beautiful Mind. The movie would shine a light John Nash’s work in game theory and his struggles with mental illness through his professional academic life. The film would go in to win four academy awards including best picture as well as best director for Howard’s work on the film. Russel Crowe’s portrayal of John Nash in the film is regarded among many critics as being one of the performances in a bio-pic.

A year later, PBS released a television documentary going even more in depth in to Nash’s life and struggles titled A Brilliant Madness.

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