Mirzakhani, first female 'Nobel Prize for Mathematics' victor, is dead

Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani Dies of Cancer

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal for mathematics, has died, according to the BBC.

Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian genius mathematician and the first-ever female victor of the prestigious Fields Medal prize, died at the age of 40 of breast cancer at a hospital in US on July 14, Tehran Times reports. 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.

At the time, she had become the first girl named on Iran's team in the International Mathematical Olympiad and had already won gold medals in the 1990s, NPR reported.

It was at Sharif University of Technology in Iran, where she received her Bachelor of Science, that she discovered her passion for mathematics.

The Iran native thrived in study of curved surfaces such as doughnut shapes and amoebas - to a degree that other bright minds in the field dared not explore, her colleagues have said.

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

Her friend Firouz Michael Naderi, an Iranian-American NASA scientist, said on Instagram, "A light was turned off today".

"This is a great honor", she was quoted as saying in 2014.

At the time she was praised for the stunning advances she had made in some of the most complicated areas of the mathematics. The award is given out every four years. Her parents had traveled to the United States on Monday, according to the Persian-language daily Haft-e-Sobh. She said in interviews that she liked the interdisciplinary connections and implications of her work.

In a message issued on Saturday, President Rouhani said the demise of "the well-known mathematical genius" has caused deep sorrow for him. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators. "Things evolve, and then you look back at a character, and it's completely different from your first impression".

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrak, and her 6-year-old daughter, Anahita.

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