Dr. John F. Nash, Jr., is the greatest West Virginian to have ever lived.
While many have achieved the top honor of their particular field or vocation, none have come close to matching the depth and breadth of pure intellectual advancement that Nash has nor have any approached the astonishing level of defining contribution across multiple disciplines.
Many will recognize this former Bluefield native as the Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences who was popularized in the biography and movie A Beautiful Mind.
But because Nash's early academic contributions were so astonishingly advanced it has taken scholars decades to fully understand his body of work that today is held to have conceptually revolutionized the field of economics.
What's more, Nash is also regarded by many to be the greatest mathematician of the second half of the 20th century, a towering achievement in and of itself.
Taken together, Nash is as intellectually distinguished as perhaps anyone living in the United States, if not the world.
But as further testimony to his genius, the insight from his pioneering work has fostered breakthrough applications well beyond the hard sciences.
Biographer Sylvia Nasar in 1994 recounts, "... his name began to surface everywhere -- in economics textbooks, articles on evolutionary biology, political science treatises, mathematics journals."
Today Nash's very name has become foundational in astonishingly disparate disciplines and in a manner that at once illuminates the human condition as it transcends it, especially the seminal contributions associated with the Nash Equilibrium.
Nash wrote about how parties in non-cooperating games, unable to enter into binding agreements to work together, could nevertheless resolve conflict and achieve gain at a point of equilibrium -- with its essence reduced to mathematical formula.