Nash, John Forbes Jr. (1928–2015)

John Nash was an American mathematician famously but not very accurately portrayed in the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind (2001), loosely based on the biography of the same name by Sylvia Nasar (1998).1 Nash, who worked in game theory and differential geometry, shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics with two other game theorists, Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi.


John Nash


After a promising start to his mathematical career, Nash began to suffer from schizophrenia around the age of 30 and battled with the illness for the next quarter of a century. His Ph.D. dissertation, entitled "Non-cooperative Games," contained the definition and properties of what would later be called Nash equilibrium and the basis of the work that, 44 years later, would make him a Nobelist. Between 1966 and 1996, Nash published nothing. However, his mental health slowly began to recover in the mid-1990s, his ability to tackle mathematical problems returned, and he also became interested in computer programming.



1. Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.