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

by Garry Watts July 16, 2017, 0:16
Mirzakhani, first female 'Nobel Prize for Mathematics' victor, is dead

"A genius? Yes. But also a daughter, a mother and a wife", he added in a subsequent post.

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. "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".

The International Mathematical Union established the award in 1936 and has presented it to at least two people every four years since 1950. Four years later, she received the Fields Medal, which is considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne said Mirzakhani's impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science careers.

Mirzakhani got her undergraduate degree at Sharif University of Technology, then moved to the United States, where she went to work on her doctorate at Harvard University. In an interview, she once said, "Doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight".

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

She was a research fellow at Clay Mathematics Institute from 2004 to 2008 and served as an assistant professor of mathematics at Princeton University.

An Iranian origin, Mirzakhani was bestowed with this award in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.

Mirzakhani attended an all-girls high school in Tehran and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war. But her passion and gift for mathematics eventually won out.

"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 said once. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators.

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

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