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16 Jul 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, first female fields medal recipient, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani: A genius and an  inspiration

Maryam Mirzakhani, Iranian math genius and a Stanford University professor recently died in the US. She had been suffering from breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.

Mirzakhani became the first woman and Iranian to receive the prestigious Fields Medal, considered the Nobel prize in mathematics in 2014, for her research on complex geometry and dynamic systems.

Read all about the genius here.

In context

Maryam Mirzakhani: A genius and an inspiration

Math and finding your way out of the jungle

Speaking to a reporter, Mirzakhani once compared finding proofs to being lost in a jungle, she said, "Use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out."

Maryam Mirzakhani: Life in Academics


Maryam Mirzakhani: Life in Academics

Born in post-revolution Iran in 1977, she displayed her mathematical prowess as a teenager when she won two math Olympiads.

She finished her PhD from Harvard in 2004 and worked at Princeton University before securing a professorship at Stanford University.

Her Fields Medal citation said, she had contributed to a major advance through "striking and highly original contributions to geometry and dynamical systems."

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What is the Fields medal?

Termed the Nobel for Mathematics the Fields medal is awarded by the International Mathematical Union once in four years to 2-4 mathematicians under 40. In 2014, Arthur Avila and Manjul Bhargava became the first Indian and South American recipients of the medal alongside Mirzakhani.


Tributes pour in

While Iranian President Hasan Rouhani noted that her death caused "great sorrow", Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Sharif said that Prof. Mirzakhani's death "caused grief to all Iranians".

Acknowledging her contributions, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne "Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world."

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