Famed mathematician John Nash and his wife, Alicia Nash, were killed Saturday in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, NJ.com reports.
Nash, a Princeton University mathematics professor, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994 for his work in game theory, specifically the “Nash equilibrium.” Nash’s battle with paranoid schizophrenia was documented in Sylvia Nasar’s bestselling 1998 biography of Nash titled “A Beautiful Mind,” and the 2001 Academy Award best picture winning film of the same name.
“For the better part of 20 years, his once supremely rational mind was beset by delusions and hallucinations,” The Washington Post reports. “By the time Dr. Nash emerged from his disturbed state, his ideas had influenced economics, foreign affairs, politics, biology — virtually every sphere of life fuelled by competition.”
You can read the first chapter of Naser’s biography of Nash at The New York Times.
Actor Russell Crowe, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Nash in the film “A Beautiful Mind,” shared his reaction to John’s and Alicia’s deaths on Twitter:
John Nash was 86 years old, and Alicia Nash was 82 years old, according to NJ.com. They met in the 1950s while he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she was a physics major. They were first married in 1957.
However, the couple divorced in 1962, after Nash’s schizophrenia forced his wife to have him involuntarily committed several times, NJ.com reported in 2009. Alicia continued to care for her former husband throughout his illness, though, and the two remarried in 2001.
“If she hadn’t taken him in, he would have wound up on the streets,” Nash’s biographer Nasar told PBS. “He had no income. He had no home. I think that Alicia saved his life.”
Their son, John Charles Martin Nash, was born in 1959 and also suffers from the same mental illness that plagued his father for decades.
The couple lived in Princeton, New Jersey, and were returning home from a trip to Norway, NJ.com reports, where Nash received the Abel Prize for mathematics for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations. Their taxi driver lost control of the car while trying to pass a vehicle in the center lane of the New Jersey turnpike and crashed into a guardrail, ejecting the Nashes from the car.
The couple was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities told NJ.com. No charges are expected to be filed in the case, according to a Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office spokesman.
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