Sunday, May 24, 2015

John Nash, 1928 - 2015

John & Alicia Nash
Tragically, John and Alicia Nash died as the result of a road accident on New Jersey yesterday.

Just days previously, Nash was the co-recipient of the 2015 Abel Prize for his contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations. He was the only person to be awarded both the Abel Prize and a Nobel Prize (Economics, 1994).

It would be impertinent of me to try and comment meaningfully, here, on Nash's contributions to Game Theory.

I was, however, taken by one comment on Twitter this morning:

Ferdinando is referring to Nash's Ph.D. dissertation, "Non-Cooperative Games", completed at Princeton University in May of 1950. Yes, it was just 27 pages long. One of the only two references was to von Neumann and Morgenstern's classic 1944 book, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. The other was to Nash's own paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1950. It spanned just two pages, but was actually less than one page long!

Yes, sometimes it really is the case that, "Less is more". (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)

(Suggested reading: "How Long Should My Thesis Be?".)

© 2015, David E. Giles