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
- What to eat to stay full during Ramadan
- Worried about high cholesterol levels? Avoid foods full of trans fats
- Bangabandhu Satellite will benefit broadcasting industry: Tarana
- Bangladesh being built with Nazrul’s non-communal spirit: PM
- Ireland: Exit polls predict win for repealing abortion ban
- Housewife strangulated to death in Satkhira
- Facebook, Twitter to introduce new guidelines for political ads
- PM Hasina receives D.Litt from Nazrul University at Asansol
- 4 kids drown in Cox’s Bazar, Bagerhat
- You'll Never Believe How Tasty Healthy Pancakes Can Be
- Khulna City mayor calls on Prime Minister
- Prime Minister talks tough against drugs
- World needs to care about Rohingyas: Priyanka Chopra
- Woman gives birth to world’s seventh ‘mermaid baby’
- 9 die due to Nipah virus outbreak in India
- The Simple Things That Can Easily Lift Your Mood Up
- True grit Sharapova back at French Open with point to prove
- Actress Tazin Ahmed passes away due to heart attack