Maths beacon for women
MARYAM Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who was the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics, has died.
Mirzakhani, who battled breast cancer, died on Saturday aged 40, the university announced.
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 specialised in theoretical mathematics that read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmuller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry,” according to the Stanford press announcement. “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.”
The 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, Iran, and studied there and at Harvard University.
She joined Stanford as a mathematics professor in 2008.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement on Saturday praising Mirzakhani.
“The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and worldrenowned mathematician, is heart rending,” Rouhani told the Tehran Times.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, posted in Farsi on his