Princeton honors the man with “A Beautiful Mind” Princeton University professor John Nash poses on the university's campus in Princeton, N.J. Oct. 11, 1994. Nash was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in economics. () (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast/Getty)
Princeton honors the man with “A Beautiful Mind”
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

Five months after his remarkable life ended in a crash on a New Jersey highway, Princeton University is paying tribute to John Nash. He is the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician remembered by colleagues for his brilliance and by millions for the Hollywood movie about him.
 
On Oct. 21, the Ivy League school held a day of academic panels and remembrance events to honor John Nash. His struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in 2001's "A Beautiful Mind."  Nash and his wife, Alicia, were killed in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in May.
 
The couple was returning home from Oslo, Norway. That is where John Nash had received the 2015 Abel Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. It is one of the most prestigious honors in mathematics. The prize recognized his seminal work in partial differential equations. They are used to describe the basic laws of scientific phenomena.
 
"In terms of brilliance, he was no regular guy. His impact with just a few papers is something special," said Peter Sarnak. He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton. "That he died on his way back from a ceremony where he received one of the biggest prizes in mathematics, that was tragic. But it was good to see mathematicians recognize him. Because my feeling is he wasn't appreciated the way he should have been. For his fellow mathematicians, the Abel Prize was a long-overdue acknowledgment of his contributions to mathematics."
 
Among the day's featured events was a public lecture by Sylvia Nasar. She wrote the biography on which the movie starring Russell Crowe as Nash was based. Nash's relatives and colleagues also gathered at the University Chapel. It was a public event to honor Nash's life.
 
Nash had a long connection with the university. He received his doctorate in mathematics from Princeton in 1950. That was after he got his graduate and bachelor's degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1948. Nash was the 1994 Nobel Prize winner in economics. He had held the position of senior research mathematician at Princeton since 1995. He was renowned for his work in game theory.
 
Sarnak described Nash as "a very nice guy."  She said he would come to lectures and seminars and ask interesting questions. He could also talk about anything at parties, she said.
 
Joseph Kohn is a professor emeritus of mathematics at Princeton. He said staffers there were very supportive of Nash.
 
Kohn said Nash "seemed to get a boost" from winning the Nobel Prize. Kohn added that it was inspiring to work with him. But Kohn said Nash's impact was not just limited to his field. He noted that his work in analyzing financial markets continues to benefit society.
 
He also believes Nash's legacy and the appreciation for his work will grow. People will become more aware of the "fantastic work" he was doing and start to understand the ideas behind them.
 
"People owe him a tremendous amount, whether they know it or not," Kohn said.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 57 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How do mathematicians benefit society?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (31)
  • brittanya-tra
    10/27/2015 - 09:49 a.m.

    He was a good man and if that car wreck didn't happen he could really make a great change in the world.I think he could've lived a lot longer so he could teach us some things that we didn't know but he did.

  • alisynnm-tra
    10/27/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

    he must have been a very smart man it is sad to hear that he is no longer living on earth hopefully someday we will get to meet him.

  • michaelh-tra
    10/27/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

    Mathematicians benefit society by teaching us how to add,subtract,multiply and all that stuff so basicly they teach us math.

  • jaydend-tra
    10/27/2015 - 10:17 a.m.

    it benefits us because we as humans our brains learn every day and thirsts for lessons and math will help us discover more in our lives.

  • justinw-969174-
    10/27/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    Because there math in almost everything so they are better at a lot of things.

  • johnh-jar
    10/28/2015 - 02:59 p.m.

    I thought it was outstanding because it told use the back story of John Nash's life story.It gave you detail words to the authors perspective. It gave me more information on John Nash (because I know who he is). The article made it so I wanted to read more on John Nash.

  • simonak-3-bar
    10/29/2015 - 07:34 p.m.

    Mathematicians benefit society because math is the basis of science, and science is the basis for all living things. "The prize recognized his seminal work in partial differential equations. They are used to describe the basic laws of scientific phenomena." In this section it says that the work the professor did was to describe the basic laws of scientific phenomena, and this states directly in the text that math in fact is the basis of science.
    My opinion about this article is that I believe that this man was very smart and definitely deserves all the awards that he received. I also think that he contributed a lot to society.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    10/29/2015 - 10:02 p.m.

    I think this is saddening because John Nash died in a car crash right after he received the 2015 Abel Prize. I never knew that this was such a big thing. This was a man who contributed greatly to mathematics.
    How do mathematicians benefit society?
    Answer: Mathematicians benefit society by contributing to more things to be taught and new ideas to be made.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    10/30/2015 - 10:04 p.m.

    It's good to hear that John Nash got the recognition he deserved as a mathematician, even though it didn't truly come around until his life was over. Nash had great contributions to the math world, yet they were not noticed until he as gone. It's sad to see that the world works like that, but people really do take things and others for granted until they lose them.

  • kyleighp-fel
    11/09/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    Mathematicians benefit society because they understand this concept of math that we used in our everyday lives that helps us do what we all do.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT