On May 19, 2015, John Forbes Nash, Jr. received this year’s Abel Prize (shared with Louis Nirenberg) from the hands of King Harald V. of Norway “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis”. Representatives of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation were in Oslo and had the chance to personally congratulate him on his outstanding achievements and to invite him to the 3rd HLF in August.
After returning from Norway, in a taxi from a New York airport to his home, he and his wife Alicia were killed in a car accident on May 23.
With his death, the world loses one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He made contributions to many different branches of mathematics, ranging from partial differential equations (for which he was awarded the Abel Prize) to game theory (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1994).
For many years, he suffered from schizophrenia, but in the early 1990s he finally recovered from it. His early years and his fight against the illness are covered in the award-winning movie “A Beautiful Mind”.
Leading mathematicians regard him as a towering figure, who solved a large number of hard problems, so hard in fact that most mathematicians did not dare touch them. He had a brilliant, versatile and – indeed – a beautiful mind.