If you are studying Economics or a related subject and have never heard of the famous Nash equilibrium then I have news for you, you are studying the wrong course! The Nash equilibrium is a concept in game theory used as a method of predicting the outcome of a strategic interaction in the social sciences. This concept has an infinite number of applications in the real world but I will not bore any of you with all of the technicalities. The late John Nash, whom the concept is named after, received various awards for his numerous contributions to economics and Game Theory including a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences in 1994. I didn’t know much about him until I took a module in Game Theory in my second year when my professor mentioned his biopic – A Beautiful Mind.
Like most good movies, A Beautiful Mind was inspired by an unofficial biography of the same title by Sylvia Nasar. I opted to watch the movie than read the book although I do plan on reading the book at some point in the future. The movie opens up with a young John pursuing his further graduate studies at Princeton. It was at Princeton that he wrote his famous dissertation on non-cooperative games containing the definition and properties of the Nash equilibrium. The very concept that won him the Nobel Prize. The movie goes on to show his family life, his work for the Research and Development (RAND) Corporation and his battle with schizophrenia. Being diagnosed with this mental disorder disrupted his work but he wouldn’t give up and eventually found a way to live with it. At the end of the movie (sorry for the spoilers), Nash is shown being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. A perfect ending to a man who has contributed so much to the way we understand the world if you ask me.
Earlier this year, on May 23, John and his wife Alicia died in a car accident. May their souls rest in peace. I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in Economics or just wants to be inspired either read the book or watch the movie. I will end with one of his quotes from the movie;
‘The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart.’