Only woman to win math equal of No­bel dies

Maryam Mirza­khani, 40, earned pres­ti­gious Fields Medal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

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 bat­tled breast can­cer, died on Satur­day, the univer­sity an­nounced. 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, 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 sur­faces­spheres, 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 Satur­day prais­ing Mirza­khani. “The griev­ous pass­ing of Maryam Mirza­khani, the em­i­nent Ira­nian and world-renowned math­e­ma­ti­cian, is very much heartrend­ing,” Rouhani said in a mes­sage that was re­ported by the Tehran Times.

Iran’s for­eign min­is­ter, Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif, said her death pained all Ira­ni­ans, the Tehran Times re­ported.

“The news of young Ira­nian ge­nius and math pro­fes­sor Maryam Mirza­khani’s pass­ing has brought a deep pang of sor­row to me and all Ira­ni­ans who are proud of their em­i­nent and dis­tin­guished sci­en­tists,” Zarif posted in Farsi on his In­sta­gram ac­count. “I do of­fer my heart­felt con­do­lences upon the pass­ing of this lady sci­en­tist to all Ira­ni­ans world­wide, her griev­ing fam­ily and the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity.”

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