Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win Nobel for Mathematics, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani. Credit Stanford University

Maryam Mirzakhani. Credit Stanford University

Groundbreaking Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who became the first woman to receive the coveted Fields Medal, has died following a battle with breast cancer.

Iran's Mehr News Agency cited one of Mirzakhani's relatives as confirming her death on Saturday (15 July). "Gone far too soon", Iranian-American NASA scientist Firouz Naderi posted on his Instagram.

Mirzakhani's other notable achievements included two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad as a teenager.

Here's a Harvard lecture by Mirzakahni in November of 2014, just nine months before she was awarded the Fields Medal.

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Her work has inspired many mathematicians, as she contributed to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces, according to the International Mathematical Union. "It is fun - it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case".

In 2008 she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrak, and her 6-year-old daughter, Anahita.

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

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Rouhani praised the "unprecedented brilliance of this creative scientist and modest human being, who made Iran's name resonate in the world's scientific forums, (and) was a turning point in showing the great will of Iranian women and young people on the path towards reaching the peaks of glory.in various global arenas". The distinguished prize, often nicknamed as the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40. "May her eternal soul RIP", Gary Lewis, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, wrote on his twitter account.

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

Stanford University has not responded to a request for comment from Newsweek.

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