Re: John Nash, 'Beautiful Mind' Inspiration, Influenced IT, Too
I must admit, outside of the general familiarity most people have with the name, I never knew all that much about John Nash or what his specific contributions to mathematics were, until now, unfortunately. Thanks for providing a refresher course, and pointing me to some extra reading, Dave. I didn't realize that his life was so tumultuous; Diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 30s, but seemingly (at least partially) recovering as he got older, moving to Europe and back several times, dealing with divorce and estrangement from his family, and having a child out of wedlock before the age of 21 (remember, this was in the 50s). I think it says a lot about how human and imperfect our greatest heroes and figures can and should be.
During one period of his illness, he apparently gained a reputation for leaving cryptic formulas all around the Princeton campus - students dubbed him 'The Phantom'. From revolutionizing economics, to that period of his life, then back to the later work you mention here, and winning a Nobel Prize in the 90s and this Abel Prize today, few can claim to have led such a life. As a programmer, I invoke complex math functions daily... but I can rest assured that the language I'm using, or some interstitial framework, is handling most of the actual heavy lifting. It's thanks to the work of Mr. Nash and other greats of his era, ahead of their time before the dawn of the computer age, that we get to take all this for granted. Let's not forget that value.