John Forbes Nash Jr.
Nash in 2006
June 13, 1928|
Bluefield, West Virginia, U.S.
|Died||May 23, 2015
Monroe Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, U.S.
John Forbes Nash Jr. (June 13, 1928 – May 23, 2015) was an American mathematician who made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and the study of partial differential equations. Nash's work has provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision-making inside complex systems found in everyday life.
His theories are widely used in economics. Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the latter part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. In 2015, he also shared the Abel Prize with Louis Nirenberg for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations.
John Nash is the only person to be awarded both the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Abel Prize.
Nash married Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé in 1957. They had two sons. In 1963, the couple divorced. They later remarried in 2001. Nash lived in West Windsor Township, New Jersey for a long time.
He is best known in popular culture as the subject of the Hollywood movie, A Beautiful Mind, about his mathematical genius and his struggles with schizophrenia, with which he was diagnosed. Sylvia Nasar's biography of Nash, A Beautiful Mind, was published in 1998. A film by the same name was released in 2001, directed by Ron Howard with Russell Crowe playing Nash; it won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
At Princeton, Nash became known as "The Phantom of Fine Hall" (Princeton's mathematics center), a shadowy figure who would scribble mysterious equations on blackboards in the middle of the night.
On May 23, 2015, Nash and his wife were killed in a vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike near Monroe Township, New Jersey. They had been on their way home from the airport after a visit to Norway, where Nash had received the Abel Prize, when their taxicab driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a guardrail. State police revealed that it appeared neither passenger was wearing a seat-belt at the time of the crash. At the time of his death, the 86-year-old Nash was a longtime resident of West Windsor Township, New Jersey.
Following his death, obituaries appeared in scientific and popular media throughout the world. In addition to their obituary for Nash, The New York Times published an article containing quotes from Nash that had been assembled from media and other published sources. The quotes consisted of Nash's reflections on his life and achievements.
- 1978 – INFORMS John von Neumann Theory Prize
- 1994 – Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
- 2010 – Double Helix Medal
- 2015 – Abel Prize
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