John Forbes Nash, Jr. (born June 13, 1928) is an American mathematician who works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations, serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University. He shared the 1994 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences (often refered to as the Nobel Prize in Economics) with two other game theorists, Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. 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.
HIS LIFE
At the age of twelve, he was carrying out scientific experiments in his room. It was quite apparent at a young age that he did not like working with other people, preferring to do things alone. He returned the social rejection of his classmates with practical jokes and intellectual superiority, believing their dances and sports to be a distraction from his experiments and studies.
He attended classes at Bluefield College while still in high school. He later attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a Westinghouse scholarship, where he studied first chemical engineering and later chemistry before switching to mathematics. He received both his bachelor`s degree and his master`s degree in 1948 while at the Carnegie Institute.
After graduation, Nash took a summer job in White Oak, Maryland working on a Navy research project being run by Clifford Truesdell.
Though accepted by Harvard University, which had been his first choice because of what he perceived to be the institution`s greater prestige and superior mathematics faculty, he was aggressively pursued by then chairman of Princeton University, Solomon Lefschetz, whose offer of the John S. Kennedy fellowship was enough to convince him that Harvard valued him less. Thus, from White Oak he went to Princeton University, where he worked on his equilibrium theory. He earned a doctorate in 1950 with a dissertation on noncooperative games. The thesis, which was written under the supervision of Albert W. Tucker, contained the definition and properties of what would later be called the Nash equilibrium. These studies led to three articles:
`Equilibrium Points in Nperson Games`, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 36 (1950), 48?49. MR0031701
`The Bargaining Problem`, Econometrica 18 (1950), 155?162. MR0035977
`Twoperson Cooperative Games`, Econometrica 21 (1953), 128?140. MR0053471
Nash also did important work in the area of algebraic geometry:
`Real algebraic manifolds`, Annals of Mathematics 56 (1952), 405?421. MR0050928 See also Proc. Internat. Congr. Math. (AMS, 1952, pp 516?517).
His most famous work in pure mathematics was the Nash embedding theorem, which showed that any abstract Riemannian manifold can be isometrically realized as a submanifold of Euclidean space. He also made contributions to the theory of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations.
In 1951, Nash went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a C. L. E. Moore Instructor in the mathematics faculty. There, he met Alicia LópezHarrison de Lardé (born January 1, 1933), a physics student from El Salvador, whom he married in February 1957. Alicia admitted Nash to a mental hospital in 1959 for schizophrenia their son, John Charles Martin Nash, was born soon afterwards, but remained nameless for a year because his mother felt that her husband should have a say in the name. After 1970, by his choice, he never took antipsychotic medication again. [citation needed] According to his biographer Sylvia Nasar, he recovered gradually with the passage of time. Encouraged by Alicia, Nash worked in a communitarian setting where his eccentricities were accepted.
In 1978 John Forbes Nash was awarded the John Von Neumann Theory Prize for his invention of noncooperative equilibria, now called Nash equilibria. He won the Leroy P Steele Prize in 1999. In 1994 he received the Nobel Prize in Economics as a result of his game theory work as a Princeton graduate student.
BEAUTIFUL MIND (Oscar Winning film starring Russel Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Paul Bettamy)
In the film A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe played John Nash. The film opened in US cinemas on December 21, 2001. It was well received by critics, and went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best Leading Actor, Best Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Score. The film has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash`s life.
The film showed Nash having many visual hallucinations that told him to do things he wouldn`t normally do, and whom he thought of as his closest friends.
However, the real John Nash did not experience visual hallucinations as part of his schizophrenia, rather auditory hallucinations that he was receiving messages from space. Because these messages were received in the same way as his mathematical ideas, he believed them. The film also shows Nash recovering due to his medication, when in fact he recovered without it6.
It is sad to note that his son also suffers from auditory hallucinations, but Nash is hopeful that, like himself, his son will eventually be able to reject the voices.
These distortions of the true story have caused considerable argument, and even outrage, among those with knowledge of schizophrenia, though to be fair there have been favourable responses to the portrayal of the mental illness too. The changes can be argued as producing a film with a greater impact, and more contentiously, one that is `more responsible`. If the film had shown schizophrenics recovering without medication then it could be abused by those who refused effective medication because of it. It has been suggested that the film`s portrayal of a drug cure could be seen as due to the influence of pharmaceutical companies. This is expanded on in a review of the film from the perspective of a site devoted to the proposition that prescribing drugs is not the best way to deal with schizophrenia.
