A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel by Sylvia Nasar

By Sylvia Nasar

In a masterful mixture of biography and technology writing, Nasar lines John Forbes Nash, Jr.'s upward push to the heights of highbrow success and his harrowing descent from eccentricity to madness. published as a big movie directed through Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe and Ed Harris.

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Extra info for A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

Sample text

My parents] knew he was different. And they knew he was bright. He always wan ted to do things his way. Mother insisted I do things for him, that I include him in my friendships. She wanted me to get him dates. She was right. But I wasn't too keen on showing off my somewhat odd brother. The Nashes pushed Johnny as hard socially as they did academically. At first, it was Boy Scout camp and Sunday Bib le classes; later on, lessons at the Floyd Ward dancing school and membership in the John Aldens Society, a youth organization devoted to improving the manners of its members.

Dyson, who ha d never heard Nash speak, said later: "I had no idea he was aw are of her existence. It was beautiful. I remember the astonishm ent I felt. What I found most wonderful was this slow awakening. Slowly, he just somehow woke up. " --------------------------------------------------------------48 More signs of recovery followed. Around 1990, Nash began to correspond, via electronic mail, with Enrico Bombieri, for m any years a star of the Institute's mathematics facultydd60 Bomb ieri, a dashing and erudite Italian, is a winner of the Fields Med al, mathematics` equivalent of the Nobel.

He was always looking for different ways to do thingsea"his sister commenteddd31 More experiences like this followed, especially in high school, when he often succeeded in showing, after a teacher had struggled to produce a laboriou s, lengthy proof, that the proof could be accomplished in two o r three elegant steps. There is no sign of a mathematical pedigree in Nash's ancest ry or any indication that mathematics was much in the air at the N ash household. Virginia Nash was literary. And for all his inter est in contemporary developments in science and technology, John Sr.

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