John Nash, the brilliant mathematician and the man for whom the movie A Beautiful Mind is based, was killed in a car crash Saturday on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 86. His wife Alicia was also killed in the crash.
In 1994, Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in Game Theory. In 2001, he was played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, a film that detailed his mathematical genius and struggle with paranoid schizophrenia.
Just last week, Nash received the Abel Prize (the Nobel for mathematicians) for his work in partial differential equations.
Nash’s contributions to this field are widely considered more profound than the research in game theory that earned him a Nobel.
Partial differential equations (those that involve multiple, independent derivatives) are fundamental to pure maths and crop up throughout science, describing phenomena from the diffusion of heat to the motion of quantum particles. “Partial differential equations lie at the foundation of many areas, both within and beyond mathematics, ranging from geometry to physics,” says mathematician Robert Kohn of the Courant Institute. “Louis Nirenberg and John Nash have had huge influence on this field, not only by solving important problems, but more importantly by introducing fundamentally new methods and ideas.”
John Nash is one of the most brilliant (and beautiful) minds the world has ever known.
*UPDATE: Russell Crowe tweeted out his condolences Sunday morning.