Profession: Mathematician and Economist
Why Famous: Nash's work provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision making in daily life. His insights made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations.
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.
Nash shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi. In 2015, he was awarded the Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations.
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.
- 1994-10-11 Nobel Prize in economics is awarded to John Harsanyi, John Nash and Reinhard Selten for their "pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games"