# John Forbes Nash: Biography Of The Mathematician With A Prodigious Mind

**John Forbes Nash was one of the most brilliant mathematicians of our century. **He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his game theory and negotiation processes. However, if there is one aspect for which he is remembered, it is for that prodigious (and wonderful) mind capable of coping with paranoid schizophrenia by managing irrational thoughts.

The journalist and professor at Columbia University ** Sylvia Nasar, was the one who wrote a book about Nash’s life**, which was later brought to the big screen under the title *A Beautiful Mind. *This work describes, above all, what was the most creative time of this mathematical genius who used to wander erratically through the corridors of Princeton University.

## John Forbes Nash: Some Surprising Facts

It was in his 30s that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but also when his mathematical faculties and abilities were more awake than ever. As **Nash** himself later explained **, he limited himself to giving the same veracity to the supernatural beings that his mind created as to his mathematical ideas. **The two worlds overlapped in a diffuse way, but gave it, in turn, an astonishing creative and theoretical harmony.

**The contributions of that time were immense. ** For example, his nonlinear equations in partial derivatives have had a decisive impact on fields as varied as science, mathematics, finance, systems biology, political science, psychology and of course, economics.

Thus, his game theory, for example, provides us with a very valuable tool to try to predict how different phenomena will evolve. Furthermore, we cannot ignore that this theoretical approach has a noble purpose, since **Nash’s idea was to achieve a formula for creating fairer economies and policies.**

## John Forbes Nash’s Early Years: Intuition and Mathematical Talent

**John Forbes Nash was born in June 1928 in Virginia**. As we can already guess, this math genius was a gifted child. He learned to read at a very young age, and like a good number of gifted students, he showed the classic problems when adjusting to an ordinary school. He was not paying attention, he was very restless, he had problems with his social skills and he got poor grades.

Now, his intuition for mathematics and everything that had to do with science, was something prodigious. In fact, **he was not yet a teenager when he was already delving into Fermat’s classical theorem on his own**. This made him enter -before waiting for his age- at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. Later, he wanted to specialize in chemistry and engineering and failed. His thing, obviously, was mathematics.

**It was in 1948 when the doors of what would be his true destination opened to him: Princeton University, the mecca of mathematics. **That was the home of other prodigious minds like Albert Einstein or Von Neumann. The latter was the authentic reference for John Forbes Nash, who introduced game theory to mathematical sciences, the same theory that would begin to improve as soon as he reached university.

## The Long Shadow of Creative Genius: Academic Success and Illness

**His academic career was meteoric. Nash had a gift. **There was something out of the ordinary about him, his way of innovating in mathematical formulas and theorems, his exquisite technique to arrive at a solution quickly and easily was astonishing … His professors, departmentmates and students were admired by that brilliant mind. However, they were also aware of his eccentric behavior.

He received his doctorate at the age of 21 **thanks to a thesis of about 27 pages on non-cooperative games, receiving the recognition of the entire academic community. **Later, he began working for the United States Air Force in the area of strategic research. In 1957, John Forbes Nash would marry a former student, Alicia Lardé López-Harrison. This young woman would be his best support throughout his life.

It was precisely one year after the link when everything started to run amok. Nash began to display paranoid behavior. **He was convinced that the crypto-communists were after him**, and that anyone wearing a red tie was spying on him and plotting against him. He sent letters to the embassies of Washington, alerting and reporting complex political plots …

### A mind that learned to control its disorder

**After being admitted to McLean Hospital, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia**. His life then resulted in a whole journey of income, stays of almost a year in psychiatric hospitals, antipsychotic treatments and insulin shock therapy. Thus, while he battled in that clinical universe, between relapses and delusions, his academic work received greater admiration and respect from the academic community.

Now, in the 70s, John Forbes Nash **made a determination: not to allow his irrational thoughts and paranoid ideas to take control of his life**. He decided to put up a wall, contain that supernatural universe and improve his life habits. Thanks to the support of his wife Alicia, he managed to take care of his diet, lead a calmer day to day and thus reduce those internal voices.

However, his behavior was still erratic and disconcerting at the moment. At the University they got used to it. So **Nash managed to continue with his work having a more adequate control of his disease without resorting to drugs**.

## The Nobel Prize, recognition and an unexpected end

**In 1994 John Forbes Nash received the Nobel Prize in Economics**. His merit was adding the concept of equilibrium in game theory. So it gave any science and discipline a more reliable way of predicting people’s behavior. Your job applications can be included in almost any area. However, the world of economics, and specifically microeconomics, has its best basis in this theory.

After the Nobel Prize, New York Times journalist Sylvia Nasar entered the lives of Nash and his wife Alicia. He wanted to tell his story, he wanted to explain to the world how he dealt with his schizophrenia and how he had developed his theory of equilibrium. Thus, after the publication of the novel, the film *A Wonderful Mind* , winner of several Oscars , came later .

Suddenly everyone knew John Forbes Nash. That professor who continued to prowl the corridors of Princeton in a discreet, eccentric and always focused way. Now, his mind no longer had the same vigor as before. **With the return to rationality and control of his disease, his mathematical intuition was no longer the same.**

Unfortunately, Nash and Alicia died together on May 23, 2015, in a traffic accident after receiving an award for their work from King Harald V, in Oslo. *He was 86 years old.*