Math 'genius' Maryam Mirzakhani dies, aged 40

Joan Terry
July 15, 2017

Mirzakhani had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, a year before she set the record of the first ever woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Mirzakhani was hospitalized last week in California and tests showed that cancer had spread to her bone marrow.

"A light was turned off today, it breaks my heart...."

Born in 1977 and raised in Tehran, Mirzakhani initially dreamed of becoming a writer, but by the time she started high school her affinity for solving mathematical problems and working on proofs had shifted her sights.

He said that the death of the young Iranian math genius has caused grief for all Iranians who take pride in their country's prominent scientific figures.

An Iranian origin, Mirzakhani was bestowed with this award in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.

Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT-educated nuclear physicist who now leads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also said, "I offer my condolences over the untimely and heartbreaking demise of her to Iranians, her family, and all scientists worldwide".

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In 2008 she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford.

"Sad to learn about the passing of Maryam Mirzakhani - the intelligent Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband Jan VondrĂ¡k, a Czechtheoretical computer scientist and applied mathematician who is an associate professor at Stanford University, and a daughter named Anahita.

In a post on Instagram, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his condolences over Mirzakhani's death.

She was also the first Iranian to win the prize. She would then head to the United States for her graduate studies, completing her PhD at Harvard University in 2004.

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under the age of 40.

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