Mathematics Genius Maryam Mirzakhani Has Died At 40

The Fields Medal, nicknamed the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics" is awarded every four years to a handful of mathematicians under age 40.

In 2008, Mirzakhani joined the faculty of Stanford University, where she served as a professor of mathematics until her death.

The 40-year-old died of breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.

She is survived by husband Jan Vondrák, a Czech theoretical computer scientist, and their daughter Anahita.


(CNN) - Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who became the only woman to receive the highest honor in mathematics, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer, the school said.

In a 2014 interview with the Guardian, she described the excitement and challenge of mathematics.

Born in 1977 in Tehran, Professor Mirzakhani won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a competition for pre-college students.

"It breaks my heart... gone far too soon", she wrote.


Firouz Naderi, her friend and NASA scientist, confirmed Mirzakhani's death on Instagram.

Mirzakhani was also a two-time gold medal victor in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a victor of the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path". She would then head to the United States for her graduate studies, completing her PhD at Harvard University in 2004. Kerckhoff is a mathematics professor at Stanford and was one of Mirzakhani's collaborators.

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

Following earlier news that Mirzakhani's health had taken a turn for the worse, a spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry told Mehr News that Iranians worldwide were proud of her.


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


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