Nash, John

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Name
Nash, John Gender: M
John Forbes Nash, Jr.
born on 13 June 1928 at 07:00 (= 07:00 AM )
Place Bluefield, West Virginia, 37n16, 81w13
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 22°12' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 21°41 Asc.s_cancol.18.gif 17°07'



John Nash
photo: Elke Wetzig (Elya), license gfdl

Biography

American mathematician and Nobel Prize winner 1994. In his acceptance speech, Nash said, "Statistically, it would seem improbable that any mathematician or scientist, at the age of 66, would be able through continued research efforts, to add much to his or her previous achievements. However I am still making the effort and it is conceivable that with the gap period of about 25 years of partially deluded thinking providing a sort of vacation my situation may be atypical. Thus I have hopes of being able to achieve something of value through my current studies or with any new ideas that come in the future." Nash himself associated his madness with living on an "ultralogical" plane, "breathing air too rare" for most mortals, and if being "cured" meant he could no longer do any original work at that level, then, Nash argued, a remission might not be worthwhile in the end.

Johnny Nash, as he was called by his family, was a solitary and introverted little boy though his parents were loving and attentive. He was named for his dad, who was an electrical engineer and schoolteacher, a veteran of WW I. When Johnny was two years old, his sister Martha was born (11/16/1930). The household had books available, including an encyclopedia in which the boy was more interested than in playing with other kids. His mom encouraged his studies but his teachers labeled him as "backwards" due to his lack of social skills. By the time he was about 12, he was showing more interest in his science experiments at home than in his boring school work. His math interest began at about 14 and by high school, he noted that he "succeeding in proving the classic Fermat theorem about an integer multiplied by itself p times where p is a prime." He was also doing electrical and chemistry experiments.

He entered Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh with a major of chemical engineering, shifting to chemistry and then to math. Nash received a BA and an MA in mathematics in 1948. His graduate studies, beginning in September 1948, were in Princeton, where he became interested in game theory studies, which had been stimulated by the work of von Neumann and Morgenstern. In 1949, while studying for his doctorate, he wrote a paper which 45 years later was to win a Nobel Prize for economics. In 1950 Nash received his doctorate from Princeton with a thesis entitled Non-cooperative Games. He was on the math faculty at M.I.T. from 1951 until he resigned in the spring of 1959, interspaced with assignments in the private sector.

During his time at MIT Nash began to have personal problems with his life, added to his customary social indifference. He met Eleanor Stier and they had a son, John David Stier, born on 6/19/1953. Eleanor wanted to get married but Nash refused to consider it. In the summer of 1954, while working for RAND, he was arrested in a police operation to trap homosexuals. He was dismissed from RAND.

One of Nash's students at MIT, Alicia Larde, became friendly with him and by the summer of 1955 they were seeing each other regularly. In 1956 Nash's parents found out that he had an affair with Eleanor and a son. Nash's father died soon after and Nash may have blamed himself for contributing a shock to his family.

In February of 1957 Nash married Alicia; by the autumn of 1958 she was pregnant but, a couple of months later, near the end of 1958 or early 1959, Nash's mental state became very disturbed. At the threshold of his career, he was struck by paranoid schizophrenia. He lost his job at M.I.T. in 1959 (after being tenured there at the age of 29!) and spent 50 days under observation at the McLean Hospital.

Norbert Wiener was one of the first to recognize that Nash's extreme eccentricities and personality problems were actually symptoms of a medical disorder. Long sad years followed with periods of hospital treatment, temporary recovery, then further treatment. He was virtually incapacitated by the disease for the next two decades or so. Alicia eventually divorced Nash, although she continued to be supportive, and after a period of extreme mental torture he appeared to become lost to the world, removed from ordinary society, although he spent much of his time in the Mathematics Department at Princeton. He roamed about Europe and America, finally, returning to Princeton where he became a sad, ghostly character on the campus - "the Phantom of Fine Hall" as Rebecca Goldstein described him in her novel, Mind-Body Problem.

During interludes of enforced rationality, he worked productively. In the late ‘60s, he returned to the dream-like delusional thinking but of relatively moderate behavior and thus tended to avoid hospitalization and the direct attention of psychiatrists. He gradually began to intellectually reject irrational thought as essentially a hopeless waste of intellectual effort. He finally renounced (!!) his delusional hypotheses and gradually returned to mathematical research in the early 1970s. He wrote, "However this is not entirely a matter of joy as if someone returned from physical disability to good physical health. One aspect of this is that rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos. For example, a non-Zoroastrian could think of Zarathustra as simply a madman who led millions of naive followers to adopt a cult of ritual fire worship. But without his "madness" Zarathustra would necessarily have been only another of the millions or billions of human individuals who have lived and then been forgotten.

John Nash's story was dramatized in the movie "A Beautiful Mind," directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe (born 04/07/1964), nominated for the best film of 2001. Neither the film nor his biographical website mention his periods of homosexual relationships, notably in his 20's. The biography by Sylvia Nasar is less romanticized, portraying him as an anti-Semite, a lousy father and a violent man. Nasar refers to his mind as beautiful, not the man.

Nash continues to hear his voices on occasion but for the most part is able to ignore them. He is doing research again and savoring such simple pleasures as being able to afford his own support and providing for his family. He and Alicia, who remained loyal for so many years, remarried in June 2001. His younger son carries his dad's gift and affliction, a mathematically gifted schizophrenic

Link to Wikipedia biography

Link to Astrodienst discussion forum

Events

  • Work : Prize 1994
  • Work : Gain social status March 2002 (Film about his life won Best Picture Oscar)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Barbara C. Taylor, an astrologer who lives in Roanoke, VA where John Nash's sister, Martha Legg, also lives,writes 3/2002, "I spoke with her by phone and she gave me the following information from John's baby book: John Forbes Nash, Jr., born 6/13/1928, at 7:00 AM, in the Bluefield Sanitarium Hospital, Bluefield, WV."

He is the son of Margaret Virginia Martin and John Nash Sr.

Categories

  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Schizophrenia
  • Family : Parenting : Abusive - Neglectful (One illigimate son)
  • Family : Parenting : Parenting stressful (One son schizo.)
  • Vocation : Science : Mathematics/ Statistics
  • Notable : Awards : Nobel prize

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