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John Forbes Nash,
A Brilliant Madness

Documentary about the life of Nobel Laureate John Nash, an eccentric mathematical genius, a major contributor to game theory, and math professor, talks about the impact of the severe mental illness knows as paranoid schizophrenia. It's a tale of the unfortunate descent into madness of a person who had so much to offer humanity. A paper he had written in his early twenties became a foundation of modern economic theory. Going from MIT mathematician at age 30 he thought aliens from another world were sending him messages. In late life, he had a transformation, fighting the voices in his head, a gradual re-awakening, becoming more engaged and lucid. Schizophrenia is a life long condition and John Nash spent decades in and out of mental institutions.

After struggling for much of his life to escape delusional thinking between periods of enforced rationality. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics for his early work at Princeton, his dissertation on non-cooperative games. His work sparked a revolution in applied game theory, to mergers, strikes, collective bargaining, situations of conflict and cooperation, auctions, farm subsidies, monetary policy, international trade, all forms of strategic gains. Game theory is a foundation of modern economics. He developed a method of predicting outcomes of strategic interactions between two or more rational adversaries who have knowledge of each other's possible actions and payoffs.When no party can gain by unilaterally changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs, they are said to be in "Nash equilibrium". The theory has been applied to traffic patterns to currency markets. According to Nobel Prize winning economist Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, Professor "Nash's theory of non-cooperative games should be recognized as one of the outstanding intellectual advances of the twentieth century. The formulation of Nash equilibrium has had a fundamental and pervasive impact in economics and the social sciences which is comparable to that of the discovery of the DNA double helix in the biological sciences."

His lifelong struggle with mental illness inspired a best selling book and the Hollywood movie, A Beautiful Mind. The documentary includes interviews with John Nash, his wife Alicia Nash, his friends, colleagues, and other experts in game theory as well as experts in mental illness.

 
 
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