John Forbes Nash, Jr. (June 13, 1928 – May 23, 2015) was an American mathematician with fundamental contributions in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations. Nash’s work has provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision making inside complex systems in daily life.
His theories are used in economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, accounting, computer science (minimax algorithm which is based on Nash Equilibrium), games of skill, politics and military theory. Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the latter part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. In 2015, he was awarded the Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations. John Nash has an Erdos number 3, according to the American Mathematical Society.
In 1959, Nash began showing clear signs of mental illness, and spent several years at psychiatric hospitals being treated for paranoid schizophrenia. After 1970, his condition slowly improved, allowing him to return to academic work by the mid-1980s. His struggles with his illness and his recovery became the basis for Sylvia Nasar‘s biography, A Beautiful Mind, as well as a film of the same name starring Russell Crowe.