John Forbes Nash Jr., wife killed in New Jersey car crash

John Nash and his wife Alicia...

In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday.

NEW YORK CITY — A handwritten note from a Bluefield High School teacher on a trigonometry assignment for the late Bluefield native and Nobel Prize recipient John Forbes Nash Jr. is one of the items that will be up for auction in New York City Friday.

The famed Christie’s Auction Company made the announcement earlier this week.

One item in particular is estimated to bring in the most money: the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to Nash for his contributions to Game Theory.

Christie’s predicts the prize, which is housed in its original red morocco gilt case lettered “J.F. Nash” and comes with the Nobel Prize Diploma in its tan morocco gilt portfolio and original suede-lined blue cloth clamshell box, will bring between $500,000 and $800,000.

The BHS teacher’s notes to Nash may not bring as much, but should spark interest locally.

On the lined paper, the teacher writes to Nash: “I think you will really go places if you would only organize your work — otherwise your talent will be wasted.” On the reverse side, the teacher continues, “Remember: Your work is only useful insofar as it may be of use to other people.”

The identity of the teacher is not included in Christie’s information.

Other documents being offered include a group of rare 1950s offprints from Nash’s personal library — two of them annotated — illustrating his first great contributions to Game Theory, Nash’s 1951 doctoral thesis and a handwritten lecture on the history of Game Theory Nash gave at Princeton University in the 2000s.

Each of the lots in this group will be sold to benefit The National Alliance on Mental Illness. Nash was known for his decades-long battle with schizophrenia.

The Nobel Prize will be sold to benefit the John Nash Trust.

Nash was born in Bluefield on June 13, 1928, the son of Virginia (Martin) Nash, an educator in the Bluefield public schools and John Forbes Nash Sr., an engineer with the Appalachian Power Company.

Nash graduated from Bluefield High School in 1945, and completed 18 credit hours at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va., prior to his graduation. He earned this undergraduate degree and master’s degree at Carnegie Tech in 1948, and received his doctorate in 1950 from Princeton University. His doctoral theory on game theory earned Nash a one-third share of the Nobel Prize in economics in 1994.

Nash and his wife of 58 years, Alicia Larde Nash, both died in a car crash in New Jersey in 2015, only days after he had received the prestigious Abel Award in mathematics at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. 

The movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” starring Russell Crowe as Nash, depicted his biography. It won many awards including an Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year.

Anyone can set up an account and bid online. Visit the website christies.com/buying-services/buying-guide/register-and-bid/.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

 

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