John Nash, wife killed

Published: May 24, 2015

John Nash, wife killed, John Forbes Nash Jr., the Princeton University mathematician whose life inspired the film “A Beautiful Mind,” and his wife died in a car crash Saturday, according to New Jersey State Police.

Nash, 86, and Alicia Nash, 82, were riding in a taxi near Monroe Township when the incident occurred, State Police Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams said.

They were traveling southbound in the left lane when the taxi went out of control while trying to pass another car, Williams said.

The car crashed into the guard rail, and the couple was ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene, Williams said

The taxi driver, Tarek Girgis, was flown to Robert Wood Johnson hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A passenger in the other car was transported by ground to Princeton University Hospital complaining of neck pain.

No charges have been filed in the accident, which is still under investigation, Williams said.

Nash, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994, was known for his work in game theory, and his personal struggle with paranoid schizophrenia. His life story inspired the 2001 Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly as the Nashes.

News of their deaths drew tributes from academia and Hollywood.

“We are stunned and saddened by news of the untimely passing of John Nash and his wife and great champion, Alicia. Both of them were very special members of the Princeton University community,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said.

“John’s remarkable achievements inspired generations of mathematicians, economists and scientists who were influenced by his brilliant, groundbreaking work in game theory, and the story of his life with Alicia moved millions of readers and moviegoers who marveled at their courage in the face of daunting challenges,” Eisgruber added.

“RIP Brilliant #NobelPrize winning John Nash & and his remarkable wife Alicia. It was an honor telling part of their story #ABeautifulMind,” director Ron Howard tweeted.

Crowe expressed condolences to the family on Twitter, calling the couple an “amazing partnership” with “beautiful minds” and “beautiful hearts.”

The film was based on the 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar.

“It was Nash’s genius,” Nasar wrote, “to choose a woman who would prove so essential to his survival.”

Nash received his Ph. D. from Princeton in 1950 based on a dissertation on the fields of mathematics and economics. In 1951 he joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where he met his future wife, Alicia Larde, a student in his advanced calculus class.

He began to experience what he called “the mental disturbances” in the early months of 1959, he wrote in his Nobel biography. Consequently, he resigned from his position as an M.I.T. faculty member and spent 50 days under observation at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts.

He spent the next few years in and out of hospitals, “always on an involuntary basis and always attempting a legal argument for release,” he said. During periods of mental clarity, in which he was able to renounce his “delusional hypotheses,” he returned to research that would build his reputation as one of the most influential American mathematicians of his time.

In addition to the Nobel, Nash received the John von Neumann Theory Prize in 1978 and the American Mathematical Society’s Steele Prize for a Seminal Contribution to Research (1999). Just last week, he was in Norway to accept the 2015 Abel Prize last week for mathematical contributions with longtime colleague Louis Nirenberg.

Stunned…my heart goes out to John & Alicia & family. An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts. https://t.co/XF4V9MBwU4

— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) May 24, 2015

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