“What truly is logic? Who decides reason? [...] It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reason can be found.”

-John Nash

 

John Forbes Nash Jr was an American mathematician widely renowned for his theory on non-cooperative games, known as the Nash Equilibrium, which became the most powerful mathematical tools for analysing competitive situations with a wide range of applications across disciplines. In 1994, he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and in 2005, he shared the Abel Prize for his work on partial differential equations, making him the only person in history to receive both the awards.

However, outside academic circles, Nash rose to fame particularly in 2001 when Hollywood movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ featured his life and struggles. What moved millions of people around the world was his constant battle with schizophrenia which led him to spending several years in a psychiatric hospital. The movie went on to win an Oscar in 2002 for Best Picture. For the later part of his life, after battling mental illnesses for years, John served as a senior research mathematician at Princeton. He died in a car accident in 2015, five years ago on this day.

The tale of John Nash is extraordinary not only for his exceptional genius and his contributions to mathematics, game theory and behavioural economics, but also for his remarkable courage and strength in battling with his own mind.