Science

Maryam Mirzakhani, prize-winning mathematician, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, prize-winning mathematician, dies at 40”

The 40-year-old, who used to teach at Stanford University, was also the first Iranian woman to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in May 2016 in recognition of her "distinguished and continuing achievement in original research".

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics.

Mirzakhani, who joined Stanford in 2008, specialized in theoretical mathematics.

Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal in 2014 "for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".

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

Iranian-American scientist Firouz Naderi shared his grief on Instagram.

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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.

As a professor and scholar, Mirzakhani's pictures helped her write stories with her math. "Sad to learn about the passing of #MaryamMirzakhani - the intelligent #Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

A year later, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a ideal score and win two gold medals at the Olympiad. The disease finally spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said. Her questions came in English.

She received her BSc in mathematics in 1999 from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and then went on to earn a PhD from Haravard University in 2004. The challenge, which began as a thought exercise among physicists a century ago, had yet to be solved. The paper, more than 200 pages long, has been hailed as "the beginning of a new era" in mathematics and "a titanic work".

"You're torturing yourself along the way", she would offer, "but life isn't supposed to be easy".

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband Jan Vondrák, a Czechtheoretical computer scientist and applied mathematician who is an associate professor at Stanford University, and a daughter named Anahita.

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