It came with great sadness to learn that Nobel prize-winning mathematician John Nash and his wife Alicia had been killed in a tragic automobile accident on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, May 23. Nash was 86, and the fatal accident — which happened when the taxi the Nashes were in lost control and crashed into a guard rail — shocked and devastated all those who had encountered him during his lifetime, as well as anyone who was familiar with his prolific works.
Unsurprisingly, Nash's passing has also greatly moved those who brought his story to life in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. The cast and crew had become intimately familiar not only with Nash's work, but also his battle with mental illness, and his story left an indelible mark on all those who encountered it. Upon hearing the news, both the film's director Ron Howard and star Russell Crowe took to Twitter to pay their respects to Nash. And from the looks of their tributes, it's clear that Nash's life was an inspiration not only because of his mathematical achievements, which were incredible in their own right, but because of his dynamic spirit, which has a legacy of its own.
A Beautiful Mind focuses on the early years of Nash's professional life, when he was working at MIT and was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia — a case so severe that he was often overcome by hallucinations and delusions which threatened not only to derail his career and his life as a whole. It was an illness he struggled with for several decades, and one that plagued his existence throughout.
The film, which starred Crow alongside Jennifer Connelly as his wife Alicia, was based on the book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar and became a hit worldwide upon its release, not only bringing in over $300 million at the international box office, but also earning an incredible four Academy Awards. Praised by critics and film fans alike, the biographical movie showcased the struggles and triumphs of a man who had, more than anything else, a mind capable of conceiving that which we could not. Hopefully we'll remember that beautiful mind for many more years to come.
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