PRINCETON, N.J.—Princeton University said farewell to late mathematician and faculty member John Nash, whose life and battle with schizophrenia were chronicled in the Russell Crowe movie “A Beautiful Mind,” with a day of remembrance events and a panel discussion about him on Saturday.
The Ivy League university’s goodbye included a public lecture from author Sylvia Nasar, whose biography formed the basis for the 2001 movie, and a chapel service that opened with Bach’s fugue in G minor, a favorite of Nash’s.
“We may not see the likes of John Nash again, but his story is one for the ages,” Nasar said at the lecture.
Nasar fondly recalled Nash’s wife, Alicia Nash, saying she was the “hero” of his story.
The Nashes, who were in their 80s, were killed in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in May.
John Nash, who was known as brilliant and eccentric, had a long connection with Princeton University, receiving his doctorate in mathematics there in 1950 after he got his graduate and bachelor’s degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1948.
Nash, the 1994 Nobel Prize winner in economics, had held the position of senior research mathematician at Princeton since 1995 and was renowned for his work in game theory.
Crowe played him in “A Beautiful Mind,” which won the Academy Award for best picture. Crowe was nominated for an Oscar for best actor, and Jennifer Connelly, who played his wife, won the Oscar for best supporting actress.
The Nashes were returning home from Oslo, Norway, where he had received the 2015 Abel Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, one of the most prestigious honors in mathematics, when the traffic accident occurred. The prize recognized his seminal work in partial differential equations, which are used to describe the basic laws of scientific phenomena.
After the fatal crash, Crowe tweeted, “An amazing partnership. Beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.” Connelly called the couple “an inspiration,” and the film’s director, Ron Howard, tweeted “it was an honor telling part of their story.”