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Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win mathematics’ Fields medal, dies at 40

Jul 16, 2017 by

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Stanford professor had suffered from breast cancer

Prestigious Fields medal is considered maths’ equivalent of the Nobel

Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who was the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields medal in mathematics, has died. She was 40.

Mirzakhani, who had breast cancer, died on Saturday, the university said. It did not indicate where she died.

In 2014, Mirzakhani was one of four winners of the Fields medal, which is presented every four years and is considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel prize. She was named for her work on complex geometry and dynamic systems.

“Mirzakhani specialized in theoretical mathematics that read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry,” the Stanford press announcement said.

“Mastering these approaches allowed Mirzakhani to pursue her fascination for describing the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas – in as great detail as possible.”

Her work had implications in fields ranging from cryptography to “the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist”, the university said.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran and studied there and at Harvard. She joined Stanford as a mathematics professor in 2008. Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, issued a statement praising Mirzakhani.

“The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heart-rending,” Rouhani said in a message that was reported by the Tehran Times.

Source: Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win mathematics’ Fields medal, dies at 40 | US news | The Guardian

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