Term Paper: Mathematician Nassar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind

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¶ … Mathematician

Nassar, Sylvia. A Beautiful Mind. New York: Touchstone Books, 1998.

The story of the 1994 Nobel-Prize winning Mathematician and economist John Nash has proved to be an inspiration to all individuals who have heard and read about the great Princeton genius, and not simply because of Nash's ground breaking insights about the mathematics of game theory. Nash is equally famous for his return from his prison of mental illness. He is now once again dwelling in the lucid world of his previous, brilliant mind, in a state of sanity. Author Sylvia Nassar's biography A Beautiful Mind tells the story of how Nash was born in the Ozarks, one of the poorest regions of America. As a young man, he was arrogant yet intellectually talented. After becoming a graduate student at Princeton, he even challenged Albert Einstein face-to face about the older man's theory of relativity. Einstein dismissed the young Nash's concerns from a mathematical point-of-view, but was impressed by Nash's bravado.

Nash became famous as a young man because of his unique insights into game theory, a theory that attempted to rationally predict how human beings made decisions with imperfect information, as people must in certain kinds of games, worldwide diplomacy, and economics. Ironically, although Nash's mathematical theories are used to predict human behavior with numbers and equations, even before he began to lose his reason, Nash had a great deal of difficulty relating to other people, even his fellow mathematicians. One of the reasons Nash loved mathematics was that he did not need to deal with other people's emotions in a world of numbers. According to Nassar's book, even before he developed the symptoms of schizophrenia, his contemporaries, "found him immensely strange," and "aloof." (Nassar, p. 13) Even so, by the 1950s, Nash had carved a brilliant career "at the apex of the mathematics profession, traveled, lectured, taught," and met "the most famous mathematicians of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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