A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

by

Sylvia Nasar

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A Beautiful Mind: Chapter 28 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nash travels to Seattle in June 1956 to attend a month-long summer institute at the University of Washington, where he expects his embedding theorem to make him a center of attention. Instead, though, one of Milnor’s proofs garners significant attention from the mathematicians, leaving Nash angry and embarrassed.
Nash’s competitive nature is still intact, and he grows increasingly frustrated with the fact that some of his mathematical research is being overlooked by other mathematicians. Stubbornly self-centered, Nash believes wholeheartedly in the superiority of his own work.
Themes
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon
Amasa Forrester, who had been a first-year graduate student at Princeton during Nash’s final PhD year, recognizes Nash at the institute and invites him to come to see his living quarters. Forrester is as “brash and brilliant” as Nash, though he is also openly homosexual. Forrester has an “unusual capacity for connecting with troubled individuals,” which may have drawn him to Nash. Though it is unclear whether Forrester and Nash had much of a relationship while Nash stayed in Seattle for the month, he referred to Forrester as “F” in various letters until the 1970s.
There is no evidence to prove that Forrester and Nash had a fully-fledged relationship while Nash was staying in Washington, but Nash’s letters about “F” suggest that he thought of Forrester as a “special” friend throughout his life. Even though Nash was in a relationship with Alicia, he apparently continued to find it difficult to repress his feelings for other men.
Themes
Love, Desire, and the Impact of Hidden Lives Theme Icon
That summer, Nash receives a call from his father, John Sr.: Eleanor had contacted Nash’s parents to tell them about their grandson. In July, Nash returns to Boston, where he learns that Eleanor has hired a lawyer; she wants regular child support payments from Nash. Bricker tries to convince Nash to pay Eleanor, and to his surprise, Nash relents.
Nash agrees to take responsibility for John David’s care, but Nasar suggests that this decision is not exactly motivated by a change of heart: Nash has been caught in a lie and feels guilty about his actions, but he is not yet reformed.
Themes
Genius, Morality, and Relationships Theme Icon