Monday, 25 May 2015

John Forbes Nash Jr., 1928-2015

Last week in ECON100 we covered game theory, including the concept of Nash equilibrium. Tragically, John Forbes Nash Jr. (for whom the Nash equilibrium is named) and his wife Alicia were killed in a car accident in New Jersey on Saturday. The L.A. Times obituary is here, and New York Times here, while the New Zealand Herald also covered the story this morning.

Nash will be best known for his work as a mathematician (rather than an economist), and in particular his PhD thesis which was just 27-pages long. It was this work that introduced the world to the concept that would later become known as Nash equilibrium, and that won him the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. At the time of the accident, he and his wife had just returned from Norway where he had just received the Abel Prize from The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Sadly, I can't recommend any of his writing to my first-year students or regular readers because of the heavy mathematical content, but here is a great summary of his contributions from his Nobel seminar in 1994, and here is an interview with Nash from 2004.

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