Friday, 19 January, 2018

Iranian math genius, Fields Medal victor Mirzakhani passes away

Maryam Mirzakhani Passes Away Maryam Mirzakhani Passes Away
Christy Curtis | 16 July, 2017, 01:31

"I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians", she said at the time.

Maryam Mirzakhani, the Iranian genius mathematician and the first-ever female victor of the prestigious Fields Medal prize, died of breast cancer at a hospital in USA on Saturday.

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.

"A light was turned off today, it breaks my heart...."

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and she lived in that country before coming to the U.S.to attend graduate school at Harvard University. Despite an auspicious start, she said that she had no intention of pursing mathematics.

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

"Also, everyone has a different style, and something that works for one person might not be so great for others", she said.

She earned her BSc in mathematics from Iran's Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and her PhD from Harvard University in 2004. Marie-Curie had Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry at the beginning of the 20th century, but in mathematics this is the first time we have a woman winning the most prestigious prize. She then taught at Princeton University before moving to Stanford in 2008.

Mirzakhani, 40, fought with cancer for four years and was hospitalized lately as the cancer has spread to her bone marrow. But her passion and gift for mathematics eventually won out.

Stanford says her work involved the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces such as spheres and doughnut shapes. "It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out".

Mirzakhani, who described herself as a slow mathematician, was drawn to big, hard questions in her field, a trait that made her a revered figure within the mathematics community.

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