Maryam Mirzakhani, only woman to take math's highest award, dies at 40
Published : 16 Jul 2017, 12:15
Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and only woman to receive the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics, died on Saturday at age 40 after a battle with cancer, said officials at Stanford University, the California school where she taught.
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 prize is handed out every four years to honor mathematicians under 40 who make major contributions. Mirzakhani was 37 when in 2014 she became the first woman to win the prize, which was established in 1936 and is equivalent to the Nobel Prize for mathematics.
The mathematician received the medal for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, Stanford officials said in 2014.
Mirzakhani at the time said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, before taking an interest in mathematical problems.
"It is fun; it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case," she said in 2014.
Growing up in Iran, she attended an all-girls high school and gained recognition as a teenager in the 1994 and 1995 competitions of the International Mathematical Olympiad.
She later graduated from Sharif University in Tehran and then headed to Harvard University in Massachusetts, to obtain her doctorate in mathematics.
Mirzakhani joined the faculty at Stanford in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008.
In recent years, she worked with Alex Eskin at the University of Chicago to investigate the trajectory of a billiard ball as it bounces around a polygonal table. The complexities in the ball's movement have long bedeviled physicists.
Mirzakhani, while solving mathematical problems, often drew on large sheets of paper while scribbling formulas on the edges, an approach that her young daughter believed to be a form of painting, according to Stanford.
Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and a daughter, Anahita. A Stanford spokesman said he did not have any information on where Mirzakhani died.
- Most viewed
- Coffee has more power than you ever thought: 3 cups a day helps you live longer
- Spend too much time on social media? It can cause tension in your real life relationships
- PM opens, lays foundation stones of 33 schemes in Rajshahi
- Shah Rukh met Canadian PM Trudeau, family
- PM asks army to uphold democracy, constitution
- Khaleda’s appeal accepted, bail hearing Sunday
- India should not be worried: PM
- BD hailed for pioneering Int'l Mother Language Day
- Prime Minister visits Rajshahi today
- Open Access Movement for Open Data, Education and Research
- Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux separate
- Khaleda can’t run polls in present context: CEC
- Housewife hacked to death in Sylhet, 2 held
- Nation set to pay homage to language martyrs
- 'Suu Kyi could be guilty of crimes against humanity'
- Emma donates 1 million pounds for victims of sexual harassment
- 'Actors also use their sexuality to get things done'
- 21 eminent citizens receive Ekushey Padak