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Interview with John Nash: Discovering Math

Play VideoI was in grade school. I would be doing arithmetic, and I found myself working with larger numbers than other students would be using. I would have several digits, and they would have maybe two or three digits. I would do multiplication and basic operation, but with larger numbers.

Later on in adolescence, I got some practice in using a calculator machine, where you could multiply and add, subtract and divide really large numbers like 10 digits.

You don't have to be a mathematician to have a feel for numbers. A movie, by the way, was made -- sort of a small-scale offbeat movie -- called Pi recently. I think it starts off with a big string of digits running across the screen, and then there are people who get concerned with various things, and in the end this Bible code idea comes up. And that ties in with numbers, so the relation to numbers is not necessarily scientific, and even when I was mentally disturbed, I had a lot of interest in numbers.

I began to think more scientifically as to the years like the 80s, and maybe the later 70s. And so there's a transition from really having more of an enthusiasm for the numbers, like maybe magical or representing a divine revelation, and just a more scientific appreciation of numbers, and these not necessarily entirely far apart.





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