Mathematician John Nash and wife Alicia die in car crash

Nash was the Nobel laureate who inspired Oscar-winning film ‘A Beautiful Mind’

 

John Nash, the Princeton University mathematician and Nobel laureate who inspired the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” has died aged 86.

Mr Nash and his wife, Alicia, were killed in an auto crash on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday afternoon, New Jersey State Police said on Sunday.

The couple were in a taxi cab whose driver lost control and crashed into a guard rail.

John Nash was 86 and his wife was 82, according to ABC News, which reported the couple was living in Princeton, New Jersey.

Russell Crowe, who played Mr Nash in A Beautiful Mind, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he was stunned by reports of the death of Nash and his wife.

“An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in economics to Mr Nash for his work in game theory, which seeks to understand how people, governments and companies cooperate and compete.

Mr Nash was honoured for his early insights, still widely used in economics, into how rivals shift or maintain strategies and allegiances.

The Nash Equilibrium describes the moment when all parties are pursuing their best-case scenario and wouldn’t change course even if a rival does.

It has been widely applied to matters including military face-offs, industrial price wars and labour negotiations.

Mr Nash’s work was of interest mainly to fellow mathematicians and economists until the release in 1998 of “A Beautiful Mind,” a book by Sylvia Nasar stemming from her profile of Mr Nash in The New York Times in 1995.

Director Ron Howard turned the book into the 2001 film starring Russell Crowe as Mr Nash and Jennifer Connelly as his wife.

The movie won the Academy Award for best picture, with Howard and Connelly winning Oscars as well.

The book and movie told of how Mr Nash, beginning in his early 30s, battled paranoid schizophrenia and how the mental disorder derailed his academic career and turned his life “hellish,” as Ms Nasar put it.

Nash began to emerge from his schizophrenia in the 1980s, when he was well into his 50s, having lost many of his productive years to the disorder.

The Nash whom Crowe portrays in the movie is haunted by visions of non-existent friends and enemies.

The real Nash said he didn’t imagine people, but heard bizarre voices in his head and thought he saw codes and signals hidden in newspapers.

Agencies