Iranian genius mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani dies aged 40

Iranian genius mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani dies aged 40

Iranian genius mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani dies aged 40

Stanford mathematics professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and to-date only female victor of the Fields Medal since its inception in 1936, died July 15 after a long battle with cancer.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and after fiercely batting this terrible disease for four years, she died on July 15, 2017.

Mirzakhani, who was born in Iran, won the quadrennial Fields Medal in 2014, the most esteemed award in mathematics that some say is equivalent to the Nobel Prize and was first awarded in 1936. 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.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne called Mirzakhani a brilliant theorist "who made enduring contributions and inspired thousands of women to pursue math and science".

After her doctorate at Harvard, Mirzakhani accepted a position as assistant professor at Princeton University and as a research fellow at the Clay Mathematics Institute.

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Firouz Naderi, her friend and NASA scientist, confirmed Mirzakhani's death on Instagram. "It breaks my heart... gone far too soon", she wrote. She liked to read and thought that maybe she would become a writer.

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".

Maryam Mirzakhani is awarded with the 2014 Fields medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea on August 13, 2014.

Stanford said her work involved the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces such as spheres and doughnut shapes. She said in interviews that she liked the interdisciplinary connections and implications of her work. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators. In a way, she told Quanta, working on mathematics is a lot like writing a novel.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrak, and her 6-year-old daughter, Anahita.

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