Iranian genius mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani dies aged 40

16 July, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Iranian math genius Mirzakhani passes away

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

"A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon", US-Iranian scientist Firouz Naderi posted on Instagram. Later he twitted: A genius? Yes. "Sad to learn about the passing of #MaryamMirzakhani - the intelligent #Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

The 40-year-old had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones, BBC reported. By then, she was already a star, having won gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad in the mid-1990s - after becoming the first girl ever named to Iran's team.

From 2004 to 2008 she was a Clay Mathematics Institute Research Fellow and an assistant professor at Princeton University.

Iran's Mehr News Agency cited one of Mirzakhani's relatives as confirming her death on Saturday.

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".

In a 2014 interview with the Guardian, she described the excitement and challenge of mathematics. "Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring, and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world".

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"It is fun - like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case", she said when she won the Fields Medal.

In recent years, she collaborated with Alex Eskin at the University of Chicago to take on another of the most-vexing problems in the field: the trajectory of a billiards ball around a polygonal table.

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.

The paper she completed based on that exercise was published in 2013.

Maryam Mirzakhani is awarded with the 2014 Fields medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea on August 13, 2014.

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani on Stanford's campus.

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

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