RIP, John Nash

John Forbes Nash is dead. So is his wife. They died in a traffic accident which, the way it’s being described, makes no sense. I wonder if their driver was wearing a red tie.

John Forbes Nash, dead at 86

John Forbes Nash, dead at 86

(that’s a little joke. Because Nash thought people wearing red ties were part of a secret group of communists who were targeting the U.S. government and he, John Nash, specifically.)
John Nash was nuttier than a fruitcake. The technical term is paranoid schizophrenia. Same thing.
Who was John Forbes Nash? He’s the guy Russell Crowe played in the movie A Beautiful Mind, which was based on a book, which was based on his life. The movie got a lot of flack for not being historically accurate, but I think it hit the main points, which are: A. He was brilliant B. He was nuts.
Besides, most people had never heard of John Forbes Nash before the movie, so it served a purpose. You can’t blame people, though.
Think about it. How many famous mathematicians do you know, not counting the guy we’re talking about? If you said zero, that’s a big ‘me, neither’ from me.
Most people can probably name 30 or 40 popular musicians without straining their brains too much, ditto famous actors and actresses, or major sports stars. We can tell you what songs they sing, what movies they’ve been in, what team they play for and, in some instances, a little bit about their personal life. Mathematicians, not so much.
And yet, his work was more important than theirs. Funny world we live in.


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