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John Forbes Nash, Jr.

John Nash

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928-2015) was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics for his landmark work, which he began in the 1950s, on the mathematics of game theory. He shared the Prize with Hungarian-American economist John C. Harsanyi and German mathematician Reinhard Selten. Nash was born and raised in Bluefield, West Virginia. He attended Wade Elementary School, Whitethorn Elementary School, Fairview Junior High School, and Beaver High School, from which he graduated in 1945. While a senior in a high school, he took supplementary math courses at Bluefield College.

Nash began to experience what he called “mental disturbances” in 1959, and was involuntarily hospitalized for a time. A Beautiful Mind, a 1998 biography of Nash written by Sylvia Nasar, described Nash as a mathematical genius at Princeton and MIT who essentially lost 30 years of his life to paranoid schizophrenia, and who re-emerged into public glory once the disease was in remission to receive the Nobel Prize for a brilliant doctoral dissertation he had done in 1950. Nash blamed his collapse on the mental effort of resolving contradictions in quantum theory. A movie with the same title was released in 2002.

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