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Martin J. Osborne
John Milnor (pdf)

Sylvia Nasar

A Beautiful mind

'A Beautiful Mind' is Sylvia Nasar's account of the life of the mathemetician John F Nash, in particular his long mental illness and his gradual recovery. The book deals well with getting inside the mind of Nash as his behaviour becomes more and more irrational, showing how from his point of view it might seem to be the rational thing to do. We also see the dilemma of those caring for Nash - how intervention makes them seem hostile to him, but how doing nothing just allows the illness to get worse. In the end allowing him to 'haunt' the maths department without any pressure seemed to lead to his eventual recovery.

I have to say though that I struggled a bit with the first part of this book - it didn't seem to maintain a thread for the story. Many of those who knew Nash during his early career were interviewed, but then the later careers of these people were included, thus breaking up the flow of the book. I would have also liked to have seen more about the work that Nash did. I realise that this is not the place for technicalities, and that more detail is available elsewhere. However, for example, Nash's work on the embedding of manifolds into higher dimensional spaces keeps cropping up and I couldn't tell whether this described one result being developed, or whether he actually proved several theorems in this area. info
Paperback 464 pages  
ISBN: 0743224574
Salesrank: 1514386
Published: 2001 Touchstone
Amazon price $4.75
Marketplace:New from $3.46:Used from $0.06
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Paperback 480 pages  
ISBN: 0571212921
Salesrank: 162119
Weight:1.1 lbs
Published: 2002 Faber & Faber
Amazon price £12.99
Marketplace:New from £6.59:Used from £0.01
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Paperback 464 pages  
ISBN: 0743224574
Salesrank: 1721410
Weight:1.3 lbs
Published: 2001 Simon & Schuster
Amazon price CDN$ 19.00
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 10.17:Used from CDN$ 1.76
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Product Description
How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?" the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner.

"Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did," came the answer. "So I took them seriously."

Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who was a legend by age thirty when he slipped into madness, and who -- thanks to the selflessness of a beautiful woman and the loyalty of the mathematics community -- emerged after decades of ghostlike existence to win a Nobel Prize and world acclaim. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Sylvia Nasar's award-winning biography is a drama about the mystery of the human mind, triumph over incredible adversity, and the healing power of love.