John Nash on sharing credit for ideas

Here is a great quote from Sylvia Naser’s biography of the Nobel prize-winning mathematician John Nash:

On one occasion in the common room, however, Nash was sketching an idea when another graduate student got very interested in what he was saying and started to elaborate on the idea. Nash said, “Well, maybe I ought to write a Note for the Proceedings of the National Academy on this.” The other student said, “Well, Nash, be sure to give me a credit.” Nash’s reply was, “All right, I’ll put in a footnote that So and So was in the room when I had the idea.”

If you enjoyed the movie A Beautiful Mind, I highly recommend Naser’s biography. It’s both more and less interesting than the movie and provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and mind of this man. Much of the details of the movie are completely made up (i.e. less to do with a Russian conspiracy and more to do with messages from outer space), so the real story is much more compelling in a way.