Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman To Win Math's Highest Honor, Dies At 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, the Iranian genius mathematician and the first-ever female victor of the prestigious Fields Medal prize, died of breast cancer at a hospital in US on Saturday.

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

After a long battle with cancer, Professor Mirzakhani succumbed to cancer at the age of 40 at a hospital in the United States on Saturday.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, an associate professor at Stanford University, and daughter Anahita.

Here's a Harvard lecture by Mirzakahni in November of 2014, just nine months before she was awarded the Fields Medal.

"I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians", Mirzakhani said at the time.

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.

An Iranian origin, Mirzakhani was bestowed with this award in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.

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".

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

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

"On behalf of the entire Stanford community, I congratulate Maryam on this incredible recognition, the highest honor in her discipline, the first ever granted to a woman", said Hennessy.

"A light was turned off today".

"A genius? Yes. But also a daughter, a mother and a wife", Naderi also wrote.

"In short, Mirzakhani was fascinated by the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces - spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas".

Following earlier news that Mirzakhani's health had taken a turn for the worse, a spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry told Mehr News that Iranians worldwide were proud of her.

  • Joey Payne