Privatdozent Photo Edition #5
John F. Nash Jr. with Russell Crowe and Ron Howard (2001)
Although Sylvia Nasar’s renowned biographical book* about mathematician John F. Nash Jr. (1928-2015) was unauthorized, the man himself enjoyed the attention the book about his life brought him. He visited the set on multiple occasions, interacting with the lead characters, the director Ron Howard and the screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. He was even in the audience at the 74th Academy Awards where the movie A Beautiful Mind won four awards, including for Best Picture and Best Director.
Describing his first meeting with Nash, Russell Crowe later stated:
“We were shooting in Princeton. And that’s where John lives, and that’s where he works, so he just walked up to the set. And I realized it was him, and I was sort of dumfounded. Because there he is, the guy that I’m playing, and I’m staring at him.
I learnt a very strong lesson through that. If you’re playing somebody, and you have the opportunity to meet them, don’t be an absolute idiot. Meet them! Because they will inform you of stuff that you can’t imagine. Or, they will actually show you that your imagination may have gone too far, or hasn’t gone far enough.
People might have edges and boundaries and when you’ve got a mind as broad and expansive as John Nash’s, he doesn’t have those boundaries.”
In the video below, Nash explains his famous namesake equilibrium theorem to Ron Howard in his office at Princeton University.
Related Privatdozent newsletters:
Nash’s Bargaining Problem (1950), December 3rd 2021
John F. Nash Jr.’s Game of “Hex” (1949), October 10th 2021
John F. Nash’s Work in Pure Mathematics, January 14th 2022
David Hilbert’s Influence on Economics, November 26th 2021
John von Neumann’s Minimax Theorem (1928), March 26th 2021
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