Nobel Laureate, mathematician John Nash, wife, killed in car crash

John NashNobel Laureate and renowned mathematician John Nash, 86, and his wife Alicia, 82, were killed in a car accident around 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Monroe Township about 12 miles from their home.

According to New Jersey State Police, the Nashes were thrown out of a taxi when it crashed. The driver has been hospitalised.

Nash who received an Ivy League education, started out as an electrical engineer, studied  at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh - now Carnegie Mellon University for three years - but went on to pursue his passion for math.

Nash won a Nobel Prize in 1994, but had to struggle with mental illness that made him a household name even more than his achievements in mathematics.

Nash went to Princeton, after Carnegie Mellon, where he worked on his equilibrium theory and, in 1950, received his doctorate with a dissertation on non-cooperative games.

In his  thesis, Nash defined what later came to be known as Nash equilibrium.

The year 1959 marked the beginning of Nash's long struggle with schizophrenia, which was chronicled in the Academy Award-winning blockbuster A Beautiful Mind.

"John's remarkable achievements inspired generations of mathematicians, economists and scientists who were influenced by his brilliant, groundbreaking work in game theory, and the story of his life with Alicia moved millions of readers and moviegoers who marveled at their courage in the face of daunting challenges," Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement.

John Moriarty told BBC, senior lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Manchester, ''Genuinely new, genuinely brilliant ideas in mathematics are hard to come by. Undergraduate maths, for example, contains few topics imagined after 1950.

"That John Nash made ground-breaking contributions in mathematical areas as diverse as games, geometry and topology, and partial differential equations therefore establishes his place in history.

"Much more striking, though, is the continuing resonance of his ideas.

"Just last week, as Nash was in Oslo collecting the prestigious Abel Prize, from the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, colleagues of mine began applying his famous concept of equilibrium to help address one of society's much more contemporary problems - that of supplying electricity cheaply, reliably and cleanly."