Did John Nash actually said the following?

Alicia: How big is the universe?

Nash: Infinite.

Alicia: How do you know?

Nash: I know because all the data indicates it's infinite.

Alicia: But it hasn't been proven yet.

Nash: No.

Alicia: You haven't seen it.

Nash: No.

Alicia: How do you know for sure?

Nash: I don't, I just believe it.

  • 11
    The movie is a fictionalisation, do you have a source that claims he actually said it? Apr 22, 2022 at 10:36
  • 2
    That exchange rings so false in terms of voice, and serves the theme in such a hit-the-nail-on-the-head way, that it's pretty implausible as anything like a verbatim transcript. At best it would be a screenwriter's unskilful adaptation of a related quote he said somewhere. Apr 24, 2022 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


Sylvia Nasar wrote the biography of John Nash, A Beautiful Mind.

It does not mention the movie's supposed dialogue about an infinite universe, but it does discuss John Nash's other views on the universe, among them

They were on their way back from Uppsala where Nash had given a talk — his first in three decades. Nash hadn’t been asked to give the customary hour-long Nobel lecture in Stockholm. The lecture at the University of Uppsala was arranged by Christer Kiselman. Nash’s chosen topic was a problem that had interested him before his illness and that he had taken up again since his remission: developing a mathematically correct theory of a non expanding universe that is consistent with known physical observations. The conventional view, of course, is that the universe is expanding, and attempting to overturn the consensus is exactly the kind of contrarian intellectual bet that Nash has always enjoyed.

but nothing about an infinite universe. In the book's Foreword, the author relates

Actually, Alicia was extremely protective of Nash’s privacy and incredibly discreet. There was only one exception: we were in the basement of her bank, sifting through the contents of her safety deposit box looking for photos. She came across these little 2 x 2 snapshots of her and John with Felix Browder at the UC Berkeley swimming pool.

and later on in the Foreward

Nash never did agree to give me an interview for the book.

It is very hard to prove a negative, but the "infinite universe" dialog is supposed to have taken place when John and Alicia were courting, which is a chapter of the book, and if such an intimate dialogue had been revealed by Alicia, it is unlikely to have been (from the above remarks) unless Alicia wanted it be included. But it wasn't.

In conclusion, there is no evidence this conversation took place, or that it represented Nash's views. The movie is a fictionalised dramatisation of the life of John Nash.

  • 1
    Well researched. Maybe the conclusion could be something like 'No, there is no evidence this conversation took place'.
    – pinegulf
    Apr 25, 2022 at 5:55
  • @pinegulf thank you. Apr 25, 2022 at 7:55

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