Famed mathematician John Nash, 86, and his wife Alicia, 82, were killed in a tragic accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The world has lost one of its most brilliant minds in John Nash, though not one of its most inspiring stories in the life of this couple.
The couple was in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike at 4:30 p.m. Saturday when they died after a driver of the Ford Crown Victoria tried to pass a Chrysler and lost control for unknown reasons and struck the guardrail. The Chrysler then hit the taxi and the Nash couple were thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. The couple does not appear to have been wearing their seatbelts.
Nash was of course one of the great names in game theory and shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Alicia was inspiring in her own right for her lifelong struggle to held Nash deal with his schizophrenia that was portrayed in the book and movie, A Beautiful Mind. The stress of the relationship led Alicia to divorce Nash in 1963 but in 1970 she took him back at the very height of his illness. He would wander Princeton writing long equations and formulas on blackboards. However, by the 1980s, they were able to get the illness under control. In 2001, they reconciled again as a couple.
On Tuesday, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters awarded the Abel Prize for 2015 to Nash and Louis Nirenberg “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.”
There is a terrific article on Nash and his work in the New York Times here.