wnol.info July 26 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani, award-winning mathematician, dies at 40

July 26 2017, 10:30 | Irvin Gilbert

Maryam Mirzakhani, award-winning mathematician, dies at 40

Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani Dies of Cancer

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics.

The 40-year-old had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones, BBC reported.

The prize is handed out every four years to honor mathematicians under 40 who make major contributions. Professor Mirzakhani won the prize in 2014 for her work on geometry and dynamical systems.

Born in Tehran in 1977, Maryam was twice awarded the International Mathematical Olympiad's gold medal in her youth.

She then earned her bachelor's degree from Iran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology in 1999, and followed up the rest of her education in the United States, where she earned a doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2004 and became full professor of mathematics at Stanford at the age of 31. The school didn't indicate where she died.

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani on Stanford's campus.

Here's a Harvard lecture by Mirzakahni in November of 2014, just nine months before she was awarded the Fields Medal.

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

"In short, Mirzakhani was fascinated by the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces - spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas", Stanford said in a news release.

At the time she was praised for the "stunning advances" she had made in some of the most complicated areas of the mathematics. "Her questions came in English. It breaks my heart...gone far too soon".

Her friend Firouz Michael Naderi, an Iranian-American NASA scientist, said on Instagram, "A light was turned off today".

Mirzakhani joined the faculty at Stanford in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008.

Christiane Rousseau, vice president of the International Mathematics Union, said at the time: "It's an extraordinary moment".

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and a daughter, Anahita - who once referred to her mother's work as "painting" because of the doodles and drawings that marked her process of working on proofs and problems, according to an obituary released by Stanford.

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