Math genius Maryam Mirzakhani dies, aged 40

Sunday, 16 Jul, 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, who in 2014 became the first woman awarded the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, has died at the age of 40. In 2014 Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, which is awarded by the International Congress of Mathematicians.

The mathematics professor, who was born in 1977, won a gold medal in the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad, the first female Iranian student to do so.

She later graduated from Sharif University in Tehran and then headed to Harvard University in MA, to obtain her doctorate in mathematics.

The Iran native thrived in study of curved surfaces such as doughnut shapes and amoebas - to a degree that other bright minds in the field dared not explore, her colleagues have said.

The president further expressed condolences to the country's scientific community and the bereaved family of Mirzakhani over her death.

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Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne called Mirzakhani a brilliant theorist "who made enduring contributions and inspired thousands of women to pursue math and science". 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. She was also the first Iranian to receive the prize, which is given every four years to exceptional mathematicians under the age of 40. The disease finally spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said. She is survived by her husband Jan Vondrák and their daughter Anahita. She said in interviews that she liked the interdisciplinary connections and implications of her work.

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani is the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said her death was a cause for grief for all Iranians.

"There are different characters, and you are getting to know them better", she said.

Early in her life, Mirzakhani had wanted to be a writer.