Mathematics Genius Maryam Mirzakhani Has Died At 40

Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani Dies of Cancer
Mathematics Genius Maryam Mirzakhani Has Died At 40

16 July, 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian- born mathematician who was the first woman to win the coveted Fields Medal, has died in a USA hospital after a battle with cancer.

The world-renowned Iranian mathematician and Stanford professor died from breast cancer at a hospital in the United States.

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

"It is fun - it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case", Mirzakhani said when she won the prestigious Fields Medal in 2014. In an interview, she once said, "Doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight".

The death of the Tehran-born Mirzakhani, who specialized in theoretical mathematics, came three years after she received the Fields Medal at an event in Seoul.

The International Mathematical Union established the award in 1936 and has presented it to at least two people every four years since 1950. "It breaks my heart... gone far too soon." in an Instagram posting. The disease finally spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said.

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

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

Echoing similar view, Mirzakhani's friend from NASA, Firouz Naderi, said, "A light was turned off today. Also, everyone has a different style, and something that works for one person might not be so great for others", she said.

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

Her work focused on the complexities of curved surfaces, such as spheres and doughnuts.

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

She made history in 2014 after becoming the first woman, as well as the first Iranian, to win the Fields Medal - nicknamed the "Nobel Prize of mathematics" - for her outstanding contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saluted Mirzakhani in a message in Farsi, posted to Twitter.

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