Iran-Origin Maths Wizard Maryam Dies at 40

Posted July 16, 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal for mathematics, has died in the U.S. in Saturday.

Mirzakhani had recently been taken to hospital as her health condition worsened due to breast cancer.

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal for Mathematics, has lost a four-year battle against breast cancer.

Stanford said her work involved the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces such as spheres and doughnut shapes.

Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal- equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics for those under 40 - awarded by the International Congress of Mathematicians - in 2014. 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. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her math. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon." in an Instagram posting.

Firouz Naderi, a former Iranian director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA, had also announced her death in an Instagram post earlier in the day.

"You're torturing yourself along the way", she would offer, "but life isn't supposed to be easy". "But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight", she remarked. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators.

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".

In a 2014 interview with the Guardian, she described the excitement and challenge of mathematics.

As a professor and scholar, Mirzakhani's pictures helped her write stories with her math. "Things evolve, and then you look back at a character, and it's completely different from your first impression".

She is survived by husband Jan Vondrák, a Czech theoretical computer scientist, and their 6-year-old daughter Anahita.