“Beautiful Mind” mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. and his wife Alicia were killed when their taxi crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike yesterday. Nash was 86 and his wife was 82. The couple had been married for almost 60 years.
According to reports, the Nashes were traveling south in the left lane when their driver lost control of the vehicle. He was trying to pass a second driver in the center lane. After attempting to pass the second driver, the taxi crashed into a guardrail and ejected the Nashes from the car. “It doesn’t appear that they were wearing seatbelts,” State Police Sgt. Gregory Williams told NJ.com May 24.
The second vehicle also crashed into the guardrail and the driver’s passenger is being treated for neck pain. The taxi driver was reported as having non-life threatening injuries and was flown off to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
According to the BBC, Nash, a mathematician who is renowned for his work in game theory, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994. Earlier this week, he had received the Abel Prize, which is another prestigious award in mathematics. The Nashes were on their way home on Saturday from Norway, where Nash received the Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations, reported Business Insider.
Nash’s revolutionary work in game theory, as well as his struggle with paranoid schizophrenia was dramatized in the 2001 Academy Award winning best picture “A Beautiful Mind”, which starred Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. “For the better part of 20 years, his once supremely rational mind was beset by delusions and hallucinations,” writes the Washington Post
Nash’s Nobel Prize came more than forty years after his initial 27-page thesis on game theory, which has since become one of the most celebrated works in the field. He wasn’t able to see how his work was influencing the world, however, during the time of his struggles. “By the time Dr. Nash emerged from his disturbed state, his ideas had influenced economics, foreign affairs, politics, biology — virtually every sphere of life fueled by competition,” writes the Washington Post. Most scholars in his field thought that Nash had passed away because he had been absent from professional life during his disturbed state. The Nobel Prize kind of “resurrected him,” said former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee Assar Lindbeck.
According to Princeton, the Abel Prize awarded to Nash by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters last Wednesday was a pivotal moment that, in the eyes of many, finally recognized John Nash’s true genius. The prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in mathematics. John Nash was the second consecutive winner from Princeton to have received the honor.