Know Maryam Mirzakhani, The 1st Woman To Win Math’s Highest Honor, Who Passed Away Last Weekend
- IWB Post
- July 17, 2017
Maryam Mirzakhani, the 40-year-old Iranian that won math’s most prestigious prize, passed away on 15th July after fighting breast cancer for more than four years.
The ‘Nobel Prize for Mathematics’ is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.
Below are some facts about the great woman:
- She was born on 3 May 1977 in Tehran, Iran.
- In 1994, Maryam achieved the gold medal level in the International Mathematical Olympiad, the first female Iranian student to do so.
- In the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a perfect score and to win two gold medals.
- She obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She went to the United States for graduate work, earning a PhD from Harvard University in 2004 where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen.
- On 13 August 2014, Mirzakhani became both the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. The award committee cited her work in “the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces”.
- Maryam was a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University. In 2008, she became a professor at Stanford University.
- She is survived by her husband, Czech scientist Jan Vondrak, and a daughter.
Here’s how people are reacting to her sudden death:
US-Iranian scientist Firouz Naderi reacted on Instagram.
18.7k Likes, 751 Comments – Firouz Naderi (@firouz_michael_naderi) on Instagram: “She is a very private person but send her way your positive thoughts and your positive energies.”
25.4k Likes, 3,182 Comments – Firouz Naderi (@firouz_michael_naderi) on Instagram: “A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart ….. gone far too soon.”
35.6k Likes, 4,026 Comments – Firouz Naderi (@firouz_michael_naderi) on Instagram: “A genius? Yes. But also a daughter, a mother and a wife.”
28.8k Likes, 936 Comments – Firouz Naderi (@firouz_michael_naderi) on Instagram: “A beautiful mind.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said her “death was a cause for grief for all Iranians.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “her death has caused great sorrow.”
Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne described Prof Mirzakhani as “a brilliant mathematical theorist and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path.” He said, “Maryam is gone far too soon but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science. 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.”
Prof Dame Frances Kirwan, a member of the medal selection committee from the University of Oxford, said at the time: “I hope that this award will inspire lots more girls and young women, in this country and around the world, to believe in their own abilities and aim to be the Fields Medallists of the future.”