Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win Nobel for Mathematics, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal, often described as the Nobel Prize for mathematics, has died aged 40. Later he twitted: A genius? Yes.

The 40-year-old died of breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.

Born in Tehran, Iran, she attended high school at the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents.

Iran's Mehr News Agency cited one of Mirzakhani's relatives as confirming her death on Saturday (15 July). Her paper "Growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces", she investigated the growth rate of the number of simple closed geodesics, as a function of their length, following her PhD entitled "Simple geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces and the volume of the moduli space of curves" on 2004 at Harvard University.

The award was established in 1936.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne 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".

Firouz Naderi’s post in Instagram in reaction to Mirzakhani’s death
Firouz Naderi’s post in Instagram in reaction to Mirzakhani’s death

College at Sharif University in Tehran followed and then graduate school at Harvard University, where she was guided by Curtis McMullen, a fellow Fields Medal victor.

"In short, Mirzakhani was fascinated by the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces - spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas", Stanford said in a news release.

Mirzakhani at the time said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, before taking an interest in mathematical problems. She won two gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad, bringing home the top honors in 1994 and 1995. But her passion and gift for mathematics eventually won out.

As a professor and scholar, Mirzakhani's pictures helped her write stories with her math.

Naderi later posted a time-lapse video of Mirzakhani presiding over a lecture hall, filling chalkboards with a proof.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and a daughter, Anahita - who once referred to her mother's work as "painting" because of the doodles and drawings that marked her process of working on proofs and problems, according to an obituary released by Stanford.



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