Acclaimed Stanford Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani Dies At 40

Iranian math genius Mirzakhani passes away

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal for mathematics, has died, according to the BBC. Mirzakhani' friend Firouz Naderi announced her death today on Instagram, and her relatives confirmed the death to the Mehr agency in Iran. Later he twitted: A genius? Yes. Her young daughter described her mother at work as "painting".

Mirzakhani fought breast cancer for the last four years of her life, which eventually spread to her bone marrow.

Born in 1977, Prof Mirzakhani was brought up in post-revolutionary Iran and won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad as a teenager.

Mirzakhani completed her PhD at Harvard in 2004, then accepted positions as a research fellow at the Clay Mathematics Institute and an assistant professor at Princeton, accruing awards and acclaim along the way. Professor Mirzakhani and her husband, Czech scientist Jan Vondrak, had one daughter.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) giving the prize to Maryam Mirzakhani (R), a Harvard educated mathematician and professor at Stanford University in California, at the awards ceremony for the Fields Medals during the International Congress of Mathematicians 2014 in Seoul.

The citation said she had made "striking and highly original contributions to geometry and dynamical systems" and that her most recent work constituted "a major advance".

Mirzakhani was lauded for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.

The award was established in 1936. She was the first recipient of the prestigious Fields Medal at a very young age.

Mirzakhani attended an all-girls high school in Tehran and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war. Her questions came in English.

Stanford University in a statement said Mirzakhani was "ambitious, resolute and fearless in the face of problems others would not, or could not, tackle".

In 2014, she told Quanta Magazine, a science publication, that she thought about mathematics in pictures, doodling her ideas on giant sheets of paper scattered across her office.

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

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