Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

The Biography of John Forbes Nash – The Mathematician

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John Forbes Nash, Junior was born on the 13th of June, 1928. He is one of the renounced mathematicians in annuls of history, and an American born brilliant citizen. He bagged a Nobel memorial prize in 1994 in the field of Economic sciences. This Nobel Prize he shared with other game theorists like Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. John Nash is a senior research officer of the mathematics department in Princeton University. In addition to his attainments, he made significant contributions to game theory, equations of partial differentiation, and geometrical differentiation.

Family Background Nash is equally an important figure in Hollywood movie. Of notable was “A beautiful Mind” which was credited as the eight Oscars. The early life of John Nash was spent in West Virginia. His father, John Forbes Nash (Snr) was an electrical electronic while his mother was Margaret Virginia Martin. John Nash was a voracious reader in his early life. Some of the materials found accustomed with were Time Magazine, Life Magazine and Compton’s Encyclopedia. At a tender age of twelve, John demonstrated a life of self-worth irrespective of rejection from his colleagues.

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He returned vibes and a sense of intellectual superiority for social rejection from his peers. This in a way made him suffered no inferiority complex. For John Nash, the rejection was rather an opportunity to carry out scientific researches without distraction but with utmost concentration. Since there was less interest in his contribution amidst his peers, he maximized the time working alone in his rooms – demonstrating scientific prowess. He demonstrated oddity, doing things in his own way. This was noted by his mother and sister. Attempt at resolving it failed.

Nash confessed that it was a book title – Men of Mathematics that got his interest in mathematics ignited. Though he was in high school, he visited Bluefield College regularly for extra study. With Westinghouse Scholarship, Nash attended Carnegie Mellon University at Pennsylvania where he bagged Bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics. He crossed over to the study of mathematics after some academic experience firstly in the department of chemical engineering and chemistry. He bagged master’s degree in 1948. Shortly, Nash took a summer job where he worked on Navy research project at White Oak, Maryland.

This was for a while. Academic Achievements Professor of mathematics, R. J. Duffin recommended the appointment of John Nash into the Princeton’s Mathematics department. The singular whole write-up was – “This man is a genius”. Following this recommendation, Solomon Lefschetz (Chairman, Princeton University Mathematics Department) pursued and persuaded John Nash to drop his second interest in Harvard University for his department. On evaluating that Princeton University placed more value on him, John Nash joined the team at Princeton in 1948.

At this university, his work on equilibrium theory speaks volume in the current mathematical world. With a dissertation report in ‘non-cooperative games’, he earned a doctorate degree two years later. Four of his published articles on this theory are; “equilibrium Points in N-person games”, in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences, “The Bargaining Problem” in Econometrica, “Two-person Cooperative Games” in Econometrica and “Real Algebraic Manifolds”, Annals of mathematics (on algebraic geometry). “His most famous contribution in pure mathematics was the Nash embedding theorem.

The theorem showed that any abstract Riemannian manifold can be isometrically realized as a sub-manifold of Euclidean space. His contribution to the theory of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations is also noted”. He is a genius indeed. Personal Life, Marriage and on Schizophrenia In mid 50s, Nash suffered arrest on moral charge of gay sexual involvement. This led to him losing a post at RAND Corporation. According to Nasar, "After this traumatic series of career-threatening events, he decided to marry” John Nash met his wife Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Larde in 1951.

She is a student of physics in Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Nash lectured. Six years later they got married. In 1959, Nash was admitted to psychiatric hospital for mental treatment where he was diagnosed of paranoid schizophrenia, depression and low self-esteem. Shortly after the incidence, the pregnant Lopez-Harrison birthed their son. He remained nameless for over a years when John Nash could have a fair say on his child. According to Sylvia Nasa’s 1998 biography of Nash in A beautiful Mind, Nash remarried his wife on June 2001 after an interval of seven years divorce.

The Nobel Prize won in Economic (1994) was said to be have been somehow instrumental to the reunion. Alicia suffered “boarder”. In her words “…we lived like two distantly related ones under the same roof” Nash received some other awards; he was awarded the John von Neumann Theory Prize for his invention of ‘non-cooperative equilibria (now called The Nash Equilibria). He won the Leroy P. Steele Prize as at 1999. Also in 1994, he won Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. His recent work on advanced game theory has invented two popular games viz. Hex and So Long Sucker.

In all, he had published 23 scientific reports. What a successful life lived! References Kuhn W. , Harold; Sylvia Nasar (Eds. ). The Essential John Nash (PDF) Introduction, xi. Princeton University Press. Retrieved on 2008-04-30. Nasar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind, page 46-47. Simon & Schuster, 1998 Levy, Emanuel (2003, page 145). All about Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards. Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 0826414524. Retrieved on 2008-04-30. http://cepa. newschool. edu/het/profiles/nash. htm http://nobelprize. org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/1994/nash-autobio. html

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