Happy Birthday Pearl Buck

Pearl Buck (1892-1973) was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia on June 26, 1892. She grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries, but was educated at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. After her graduation she returned to China and lived there until 1934 with the exception of a year spent at Cornell University, where she took an M.A. in 1926. Pearl Buck began to write in the twenties; her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, appeared in 1930. It was followed by The Good Earth (1931), Sons (1932), and A House Divided (1935), together forming a trilogy on the saga of the family of Wang. The Good Earth stood on the American list of Ā«best sellersĀ» for a long time and earned her several awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells Medal. She also published The First Wife and Other Stories (1933), All Men are Brothers (a translation of the Chinese novel Shui Hu Chuan) (1933), The Mother (1934), and This Proud Heart (1938). The biographies of her mother and father, The Exile and Fighting Angel, were published in 1936 and later brought out together under the title of The Spirit and the Flesh (1944). The Time Is Now, a fictionalized account of the author’s emotional experiences, although written much earlier, did not appear in print until 1967.

Pearl Buck’s works after 1938 are too many to mention. Her novels have continued to deal with the confrontation of East and West, her interest spreading to such countries as India and Korea. Her novelist’s interest in the interplay of East and West has also led to some activity in political journalism.

Pearl Buck has been active in many welfare organizations; in particular she set up an agency for the adoption of Asian-American children (Welcome House, Inc.) and has taken an active interest in retarded children (The Child Who Never Grew, 1950).

Birthday of A Beautiful Mind

John Forbes Nash Jr. was born on June 13, 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia. His father was an electrical engineer and his mother worked as a school teacher. His father gave him scientific volumes to study, while his parents made sure that he received a good education. He became known as an oddball at his school, considering dances, sports, and other social activities to be distractions from his work in scientific study and experimentation. His mother tutored him outside of school, allowing him to skip a grade.

In his senior year of high school, John won a coveted Westinghouse scholarship, one of only ten awarded in the nation. He went to the Carnegie Institute of Technology and, in 1948, graduated with a Master’s degree after only three years. Although he had originally planned to study chemical engineering, he quickly discovered a love for mathematics and changed his major. His advisor wrote a recommendation for him saying “This man is a genius”.

After graduating, John went immediately to Princeton University, where his major accomplishment was to develop his theory of “Nash Equilibrium”, which applied to Game Theory. He rarely attended class, insisting that it would ruin his originality. He constantly looked for ways to establish himself in the field of mathematics in order to become the world’s greatest mathematician. He constantly walked through the hallways whistling Bach’s “Little Fugue” and rode his bicycle in a figure-eight or infinity symbol in the quadrangle on campus.

After he graduated with his Ph.D, John moved to Boston, where he became a distinguished member of the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was called the “kid professor” by students since he was so young. In 1958, he was featured in Fortune Magazine as one of the brightest stars in the field of mathematics.

He suffered, and has since recovered from schizophrenia. Today, Nash serves in the department of mathematics at Princeton. His life was immortalized in the film “A Beautiful Mind”, with his character portrayed by Russell Crowe.