Maryam Mirzakhani, initial lady to win Fields Medal in mathematics, dies during 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born mathematician who in 2014 became a initial lady awarded a Fields Medal, mostly called a many prestigious esteem in mathematics, died July 15. She was 40.


Stanford University, where she had been a highbrow given 2008, announced her genocide though did not contend where she died. The means was breast cancer.

Dr. Mirzakhani grew adult in Tehran and came to a United States in 1999 for connoisseur investigate during Harvard University. Her mathematical interests enclosed a fanciful investigate of formidable geometric shapes and a transformation of billiard balls opposite surfaces.

Her work was deeply theoretical, though other mathematicians deliberate it resolutely strange and of infinite destiny importance. Her doctoral dissertation, that she finished in 2004, solved dual long-standing mathematical problems and led to publications in 3 vital arithmetic journals.

“She has a intrepid aspiration when it comes to mathematics,” her Harvard mentor, Curtis McMullen, a past Fields Medal winner, told Quanta Magazine in 2014.

Another educational collaborator, University of Chicago mathematician Alex Eskin, described her contributions as “the kind of arithmetic we immediately commend belongs in a textbook.”

Dr. Mirzakhani was quite meddlesome in a “geometric and energetic complexities of winding surfaces,” Stanford pronounced in a statement. These surfaces enclosed spheres, amoebas and formidable hyperbolic structures, or saddle-shaped or doughnut-shaped epitome objects with mixed openings. She also complicated a dynamics of how particles pierce or upsurge opposite surfaces — like a arena of billiard balls rolling on tables of opposite configurations.

Her work is already widely successful in mathematics, with probable destiny use in engineering, cryptography and fanciful physics, including studies of a start of a universe.

In 2014, she was one of 4 mathematicians to accept a Fields Medal — strictly called a International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, that is awarded by a International Mathematical Union. Sometimes called a homogeneous of a Nobel Prize, it is presented each 4 years to no some-more than 4 mathematicians underneath a age of 40.

When Dr. Mirzakhani won a Fields Medal, it was deliberate a impulse of good mystic significance for women in arithmetic and science. She is a usually lady to have perceived a medal, named for Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields, given it was initial awarded in 1936.

She mostly sketched mathematical proofs on vast sheets of paper — a routine her immature daughter called “painting” and that Dr. Mirzakhani likened to component a novel.

“There are opposite characters, and we are removing to know them better,” she told Quanta Magazine. “Things evolve, and afterwards we demeanour behind during a character, and it’s totally opposite from your initial impression.”

Maryam Mirzakhani was innate May 3, 1977, in Tehran. In a few interviews she gave, she pronounced that as a child, she wanted to be a writer, though she suggested zero about her relatives or their occupations.

She did contend that she became meddlesome in arithmetic after her comparison hermit told her about a shorthand approach to supplement all a numbers from 1 to 100. The trick, devised in a 18th century by Carl Friedrich Gauss, is to supplement a utmost pairs of numbers: 1 and 100, 2 and 99, 3 and 98, and so on. Each time, a sum is 101. There are 50 pairs of numbers. Multiplying 50 by 101 yields a answer: 5,050.

While attending a girls’ high propagandize in Tehran, Dr. Mirzakhani warranted bullion medals in general math competitions, including a ideal measure in 1995. She graduated from Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and perceived her doctorate in arithmetic from Harvard in 2004.

She taught during Princeton University and was a investigate associate with a Clay Mathematics Institute in New Hampshire before fasten a Stanford faculty. Dr. Mirzakhani’s genocide was remarkable in a matter released by Hassan Rouhani, boss of Iran.

Survivors embody her husband, mechanism scientist Jan Vondrak of Stanford, Calif.; and their 6-year-old daughter, Anahita.

“I don’t have any sold recipe,” Dr. Mirzakhani pronounced in 2014 after winning a Fields Medal. But she pronounced she subsequent a low clarity of fun from exploring mathematical problems.

“It is like being mislaid in a jungle,” she said, “and perplexing to use all a believe that we can accumulate to come adult with some new tricks, and with some fitness we competence find a approach out.”

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