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Trailblazing maths genius Maryam Mirzakhani dies


2017-07-16

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, has died in the US.

The 40-year-old Iranian, a professor at Stanford University, had breast cancer which had spread to her bones.

Nicknamed the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics”, the Fields Medal is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.

It was given to Prof Mirzakhani in 2014 for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Prof Mirzakhani’s death caused “great sorrow”.

Born in 1977, Prof Mirzakhani was brought up in post-revolutionary Iran and won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad as a teenager.

She earned a PhD at Harvard University in 2004, and later worked at Princeton before securing a professorship at Stanford in 2008.

Her receipt of the Fields Medal three years ago ended a long wait for women in the mathematics community for the prize, first established in 1936.

Prof Mirzakhani was also the first Iranian to receive it.