Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman To Win Math's Highest Honor, Dies At 40

Maryam Mirzakhani

Award-winning Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has reportedly passed away due to cancer at a hospital in the United States.

The two times gold medal victor in the International Mathematical Olympiad, Mirzakhani received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran's Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and earned a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004 and became full professor of mathematics at Stanford at the age of 31. She received her bachelor's degree from Iran's Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and earned a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004. The prize was for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".

In 2016, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, adding her to the ranks of Einstein, Oppenheimer and Edison.

Echoing similar view, Mirzakhani's friend from NASA, Firouz Naderi, said, "A light was turned off today".

At the time of her death, she was a professor in the mathematics department at Stanford University.




She attended an all-girls high school in Tehran, led by a principal unbowed by the fact that no girl had ever competed for Iran's International Mathematical Olympiad team. She then taught at Princeton University before moving to Stanford in 2008. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her math. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon", she wrote.

Mirzakhani enjoyed pure mathematics because of its "elegance and longevity", she said.

According to the awarding committee, Mirzakhani's genius came from her "rare combination of superb technical ability, bold ambition, far-reaching vision, and deep curiosity". Cancerous cells had recently spread to her bone marrow.

Professor Mirzakhani and her husband, Czech scientist Jan Vondrak, had one daughter. "But also a daughter, a mother and a wife". She liked to read and thought that maybe she would become a writer.

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