Maryam Mirzakhani dead: Iranian math genius and first female Fields Medal winner loses cancer battle
16 July, 2017, 00:13
Professor Maryam Mirzakhani was the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics.
After a long battle with cancer, Professor Mirzakhani succumbed to cancer at the age of 40 at a hospital in the United States on Saturday. It is given every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40.
Mirzakhani was drawn to mathematics while in high school in Iran's capital, Tehran, where she grew up.
She earned a doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2004 and became full professor of mathematics in 2008 at Stanford at a very young age of 31.
Mirzakhani, who described herself as a slow mathematician, was drawn to big, hard questions in her field, a trait that made her a revered figure within the mathematics community. Her honors include the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.
Stanford said her work involved the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces such as spheres and doughnut shapes.
Firouz Naderi, a retired NASA scientist and former director of the space agency's Solar System Exploration Program, announced her passing on his personal Instagram account. "I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians", Mirzakhani said at the time.
Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne said Mirzakhani's impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science careers.
"I find it fascinating that you can look at the same problem from different perspectives and approach it using different methods", she said.
Stanford University says Mirzakhani died Saturday. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators.
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