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Monday, May 25, 2015

John Nash (1928-2015)

John Nash and his wife Alicia died in a taxi accident, returning from the airport after he received the Abel prize in Norway. The public knew John Nash as the "Beautiful Mind" of book and screen, but we knew him as one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. Rakesh Vohra captures Nash's life and work, including his amazing letters to the NSA.

I briefly met John Nash at some MIT alumni events in New Jersey when I lived there (even though neither of us were MIT undergrads). He would come with his wife and son, the son wearing a winter coat no matter the season. Nash just seemed like any other introverted scientist and was happy to talk though understating his research ("I did some work in game theory") and never revealing the challenging life he led.

Now that John and Alicia have found their final equilibrium, may we remember them and Nash's vision of using mathematics to understand the world we live in.

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