Beautiful Mind

Excellent movie about NobelPrize winner John Forbes Nash, dealing with his battle with schizophrenia.

Strays quite far (in places) from the 'biography' it claims to follow.

Although based on the biography, it was not intended as a documentary. Hence, Nash's auditory hallucinations were enhanced to visual and tactile ones: it makes a much more interesting drama. If you want a more true-to-life depiction of a historical figure who heard voices, try any of the JoanOfArc? movies. -- EdPoor


In the film, John is employed to find hidden messages in the press by using SteganoGraphy.

Steganography? I've got about 20 pages to go in the book, and steganography is not mentioned once! Nash's NobelPrize was for economics, given for his applications of non-cooperative game theory to economic modeling. -- MikeSmith

Someone's auditory hallucinations prevented them from typing this: In the film, John's hallucinations employ him to find hidden messages in the press by using SteganoGraphy.


I was lucky enough to see this movie without knowing anything at all about it or about Nash. That made for some great surprises, and a shift from initially thinking "This movie is ridiculous" to "Oh, this is cool!" I would guess that the effect of the film is a lot different if you know too much before seeing it. Try not to spoil it for others. -- KrisJohnson

I dunno, Kris. I saw the movie not knowing anything about Nash, and there were things about it that just didn't add up. Mostly, it annoyed me that the movie implies that schizophrenia can be cured by trying harder and through the miracle of love. I picked up the book looking for an explanation. Read a little bit about schizophrenia and tell me if you think that's the disorder that the character in the movie has. -- RobertChurch

Anyone who watches a Hollywood film expecting a realistic portrayal of mental illness and its effects on people is bound to be disappointed. I'm just saying it is a more entertaining movie if you don't know anything about it ahead of time. -- kj

The movie compared favorably to my hallucinations. -- PhlIp

(Memento was reviewed in AAAS's Science as creating a reasonable depiction of the mental affliction upon which its plot turned.)


John Nash gave a public lecture that attempted to prove the RiemannHypothesis? (one of the Millennium Problems http://www.claymath.org/millennium/Riemann_Hypothesis/). It did not go well and was one of the first indications of his problems. However, he continued to work on this problem for many years. See http://www.lms.ac.uk/newsletter/0205/articles.html. (BeautifulMind section paragraph 6).


A recent documentary where Nash appeared suggested his illness was triggered by his relentless pursuit of fame, seeking (but failing) to solve a HolyGrail mathematical problem.

That's specious (even if John said it). You can't "trigger" mental illness by trying to do anything. A better sound bite would be, "John's mental illness drove him to seek fame by solving a HolyGrail math problem." For more investigations of this topic, see news:sci.math .

I think there is a group of people, including practitioners, believe that some people have a vulnerability to mental illness, and these are triggered by significant stress points in their life. In the case of John Nash, it was mentioned by a clinical psychologist. The program has lots of appearances by Nash, his family members, and people who knew him as a young genius (e.g. Paul Samuelson). Nash was well known for his arrogance and eccentric behaviour, did not attend university classes, etc. It was also mentioned a few times he was highly aggressive in pursuit of fame. A documentary like the one aired would have been seen by all involved parties, Nash's wife, etc. So if it needed correction the producers would have plenty of input, and there would not have been a motive to distort facts.

At the risk of being OffTopic, or better suited to a new page, I think science is finding that there are quite a few "illnesses" tied to stress that we used to think were just caused by viruses or genetics. We used to believe stomach ulcers were caused by stress alone, but now we know that stress works hand-in-hand with a virus. I have an allergy to chewing gum that is triggered by stress. The more we learn about anything, the more we realize that there is much more to learn. -- BrucePennington

It's a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, not a virus.
Cambridge University study of the BeautifulMind in us

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are,the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm!

News from Heaven or Hell for the refactorer?

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