Writer and journalist Sylvia Nasar will offer insights about mathematical genius John Nash and the devastating mental illness he endured and ultimately overcame. She will also describe how a news story in the New York Times became a full-length book and then a major movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe.

Multiple disciplines

“I think there is something for everyone,” Development Manager for UR Libraries Andrea Weinstein said. “For those interested in journalism, in writing full length biography, in film studies, in economics and politics, and in mental illness.”

The book addresses Nash’s early promise, his struggle with schizophrenia and his eventual recognition with a Nobel Prize in economics in 1994. The movie has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Mental Illness

“I read her book four years ago, and thought it was a wonderfully written biography,” Weinstein said. “The story of someone suffering extreme mental illness but still having the capacity to develop a brilliant theory that has so many implications, and for which he received a Nobel Prize was fascinating. It is a story about extremes of strength and frailty.”

She also said she thought she was lucky that she approached Nasar over a year ago to come to UR for a speaking engagement.

“We were lucky to approach Nasar a year ago, otherwise, quite frankly, I don’t think we would have been able to get her here.”

Nasar’s presentation is part of the continuing Nelly Series that brings prominent figures in the arts and sciences to campus. The series is funded as a result of an endowment by Andrew and Janet Nelly.

This is the first year of the series and Nasar’s talk will be free and open to the public. For more information about this event, contact Weinstein at x54461.

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@camputimes.org.

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