John Forbes Nash Jr.
John Forbes Nash Jr. was born on June 13th of 1928. He has greatly impacted
today’s society with his works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial
differential equations. His theories are used in many aspects of our lives today
such as in economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence,
accounting, politics and in military theory. Within his lifetime Nash has received several
prestigious awards. In 1978 he was awarded the John Von Neumann Theory Prize. In
1994 he and his coworkers Reinhard Selton and John Harsanyi were awarded the Nobel
Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and he was also awarded the Abel Prize in 2015
for his work on non linear partial differential equations.
John Forbes Nash Jr. was born in Bluefield, West Virginia in 1928 to his father
John Forbes Nash, an electrical engineer for the Appalachian Electric Power Company,
and his mother Margaret Virginia Martin, known as “Virginia”, who was a school
teacher. Nash has one younger sister named Martha. Nash had a very advanced,
education filled childhood learning to read and play piano before the age of three. He
attended public school and both his parents and grandparents were very influential in his
education. During high school, Nash took advanced mathematics and chemistry at a
community college and later was accepted into the chemical engineering program with a
full scholarship from the George Westinghouse Scholarship Foundation. During this
time, Nash first studied chemical engineering, then studied chemistry and later found his
calling in the field of mathematics. After graduating in 1948 from the Carnegie Institute
of Technology he had both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mathematics. He
was then accepted to both Harvard and Princeton but decided on Princeton after the
chairman of the mathematics department, Solomon Lefschetz, offered him the John S.
Kennedy fellowship. Princeton was also located closer to his family in Bluefield which
he also preferred. Richard Duffin, Nash’s former advisor used one sentence to describe
Nash while writing his recommendation for Princeton which simply stated, “This man is
a genius.” While at Princeton Nash continued his studies of mathematics and worked on
his theory of equilibrium which later became known as the Nash equilibrium.
In 1950 Nash earned a PHD, while also producing some of his first works, which
would be the definition and the properties of the Nash equation. This is now described as
one of the most crucial concepts in non cooperative games. These publishing are
considered the biggest reason as to why Nash was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in
Economic Sciences. Nash also did a lot of ground breaking work in algebraic geometry.
Some of his many works and early discoveries include the Nash embedding theory,
which shows that every abstract Riemannian manifold can be isometrically realized as a
submanifold of Euclidean space, and very significant findings and contributions to the
theories of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations and to singularity theory. In
Sulvia Nasar’s biography of Nash entitled “A Beautiful Mind” (which was also later
made into a film by Director Ron Howard and released in 2001), she explains how Nash
while working on proving Hilbert’s nineteenth problem discovered that an Italian
mathematician had proven the answer just months before. Both individuals used
different routes to find their solutions. In 1950 Nash also proposed a new encryption
machine which proved that he had anticipated may concepts of modern cryptography.
In 1951 Nash was hired at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where his
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