I came across the concept of a Nash Equilibrium as a wee freshman in high school. I thought it a great concept: mathematics that showed nice, cooperative people are not always rational people. I became more interested in game theory, which also subsequently led to a more broad interest in applied math. And of course, needless to say, I venerated the man who came up with the concept that led to my interest in game theory…even before I first saw “A Beautiful Mind.”
John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed in a taxi accident on the New Jersey Turnpike Saturday afternoon. They were on their way back from Norway where he and Louis Nirenberg had just accepted the 2015 Abel Prize. Besides meeting the king of Norway, Nash had also expressed a desire to meet world chess champion Magnus Carlsen during remarks at Princeton’s celebration of his Abel Prize in March, and that was also granted this past week.
Today Dick and I join many expressing shock and offering condolences.
The time spans for the Nashes are really 1957–1963, 1970–2000, and 2001–2015. They were married in 1957, two years before the onset of John’s schizophrenia. Their divorce in 1963 came amid a nine-year series of hospitalizations that began in 1961. After his discharge in 1970, she felt he would be better off boarding in a room of the house she’d moved to…
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