First woman to win highest math award dies at 40

Gwen Vasquez
July 15, 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win what is viewed as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, died on Saturday in U.S., after battling with the fatal breast cancer for last four years.

Iranian mathematics scholar Maryam Mirzakhani passed away on Saturday after succumbing to her third bout with breast cancer.

Born in Tehran, Iran, she attended high school at the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents.

He said that the death of the young Iranian math genius has caused grief for all Iranians who take pride in their country's prominent scientific figures.

Here's a Harvard lecture by Mirzakahni in November of 2014, just nine months before she was awarded the Fields Medal. Mirzakhani received the medal in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.

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Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT-educated nuclear physicist who now leads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also said, "I offer my condolences over the untimely and heartbreaking demise of her to Iranians, her family, and all scientists worldwide".

"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", she added. She is survived by her husband Jan Vondrák and their daughter Anahita.

In a post on Instagram, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his condolences over Mirzakhani's death. "I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians".

Her honors also include the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.

In 1999, Mirzakhani earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. "May her eternal soul RIP", Gary Lewis, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, wrote on his twitter account. She then taught at Princeton University before moving to Stanford in 2008.

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