Excerpt from A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Beautiful Mind

The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

by Sylvia Nasar

A Beautiful Mind
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1998, 464 pages
    Dec 2001, 464 pages

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Part One: A Beautiful Mind

    Part Two: Separate Lives

    1. Singularity
    2. A Special Friendship (Santa Monica, Summer 1952)
    3. Eleanor
    4. Jack
    5. The Arrest (RAND, Summer 1954)
    6. Alicia
    7. The Courtship
    8. Seattle (Summer 1956)
    9. Death and Marriage (1956-57)

    Part Three: A Slow Fire Burning

    1. Olden Lane and Washington Square (1956-57)
    2. The Bomb Factory
    3. Secrets (Summer 1958)
    4. Schemes (Fall 1958)
    5. The Emperor of Antarctica
    6. In the Eye of the Storm (Spring 1959)
    7. Day-Breaks in Bowditch Hall (McLean Hospital, April-May, 1959)
    8. Mad Hatter's Tea (May-June 1959)

    Part Four: The Lost Years

    1. Citoyen du Monde (Paris and Geneva, 1959-60)
    2. Absolute Zero (Princeton, 1960)
    3. Tower of Silence (Trenton State Hospital, 1961)
    4. An Interlude of Enforced Rationality (July 1961-April 1963)
    5. The "Blowing Up" Problem (Princeton and Carrier Clinic, 1963-65)
    6. Solitude (Boston, 1965-67)
    7. A Man All Alone in a Strange World (Roanoke, 1967-70)
    8. Phantom of Fine Hall (Princeton, 1970s)
    9. A Quiet Life (Princeton, 1970-90)

    Part Five: The Most Worthy

    1. Remission
    2. The Prize
    3. The Greatest Auction Ever (Washington, D.C., December 1994)
    4. Reawakening (Princeton, 1995-97)

    Select Bibliography


    Where the statue stood
    Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
    The marble index of a mind for ever
    Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.

    John Forbes Nash, Jr. -- mathematical genius, inventor of a theory of rational behavior, visionary of the thinking machine -- had been sitting with his visitor, also a mathematician, for nearly half an hour. It was late on a weekday afternoon in the spring of 1959, and, though it was only May, uncomfortably warm. Nash was slumped in an armchair in one corner of the hospital lounge, carelessly dressed in a nylon shirt that hung limply over his unbelted trousers. His powerful frame was slack as a rag doll's, his finely molded features expressionless. He had been staring dully at a spot immediately in front of the left foot of Harvard professor George Mackey, hardly moving except to brush his long dark hair away from his forehead in a fitful, repetitive motion. His visitor sat upright, oppressed by the silence, acutely conscious that the doors to the room were locked. Mackey finally could contain himself no longer. His voice was slightly querulous, but he strained to be gentle. "How could you," began Mackey, "how could you, a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical proof...how could you believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? How could you...?"

    Copyright © 1998 by Sylvia Nasar.

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