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Monday, May 25, 2015

John Nash and Alicia Lopes-Harrison de Lardé

This weekend, renowned mathematician John F. Nash, Jr. and his wife, Alicia Lopes-Harrison de Lardé were tragically killed in a taxi accident. John and Alicia were on their way back from the airport to their home in West Windsor Township, New Jersey, where John served as Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University. They had just returned from Norway, where Nash had been awarded the Abel Prize for his legendary work in mathematics.


The movie A Beautiful Mind brought attention to the work of John Nash, along with his lifelong struggle with schizophrenia and the unique relationship he shared with his brilliant wife, Alicia.


He and Alicia met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied physics and he taught advanced calculus. She was one of only 16 women entering the M.I.T class of 1955. It was her dream to become the next Marie Curie.


They married in 1957, and John was awarded a tenured position in 1958. Soon, however, the first signs of the schizophrenia, which was to plague him for many years, became apparent. Alicia chose to have him hospitalized for care, and suffered greatly worrying about him and their new born son.


The stress of the illness caused the couple to divorce in 1963. When John finally was able to leave the hospital in 1970, however, Alicia invited him to stay at her home to be near her and their son and to have some stability.


Nash’s condition began to slowly improve and he was able to resume teaching at Princeton and eventually resumed his relationship with Alicia. They were remarried in 2001.




Russell Crowe, who played John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, paid tribute to John and Alicia by referring to them as, “An amazing partnership…beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”