A Beautiful Mind

MGF 1107
ASSIGNMENT: A Beautiful Mind
1. Read Chapter 15 on Game Theory: The Mathematics of Competition. It will be
discussed more extensively in class.
2. Watch the movie A Beautiful Mind. If you have the 2-disc edition, look at the extras
in disc 2. It has a short clip on the real J. Nash and a short clip from 1994 Nobel
3. Write an essay relating ideas of the movie to the content of the class. You can be
imaginative. You do not have to confine yourselves only to what is in the book chapter.
Here are are some ideas:
• Devise a simple game to explain the Nash equilibrium.
• Discuss cryptography and code breaking. (See section 17.3 of your book.)
• Find out about the real John Nash and make a comparison with the person
portrayed in the movie.
• Find out about the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics and present a summary about
• Comment on mathematicians, their obsession with original work1 , and the high
rates of insanity.
You are also allowed to talk about other things and ideas as long as you make connections to math and applications of math in the world. For example the game of Go
appears again in this movie.
If you follow the rules, you will receive full credit for this assignment independently
of mistakes. If you lack math content or if your content is superficial, your paper will be
The assignment is to serve as an introduction to game theory and the life of one of its
main architects, J. Nash.
The novel of A. Doxiadis Uncle Petros and the Goldbach Conjecture is a great one to read if you want
to see a mathematician’s obsession to the extreme.