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Iran-Origin Maths Wizard Maryam Dies at 40


Iranian-American scientist Firouz Naderi shared his grief on Instagram.

"A light was turned off today. far too soon". 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. She was the first recipient of the prestigious Fields Medal at a very young age.

Mirzakhani attended an all-girls high school in Tehran and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war.

Mirzakhani had recently been taken to hospital as her health condition worsened due to breast cancer.

The award recognized her original contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems, particularly understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces such as spheres.

Iranian officials received heavy criticism for not using more recent pictures of Mirzakhani with short, uncovered hair, as she appeared at Fields Medal awarding ceremony. "Gone far too soon", he wrote. "Sad to learn about the passing of #MaryamMirzakhani - the intelligent #Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

Firouz Naderi’s post in Instagram in reaction to Mirzakhani’s death
Firouz Naderi’s post in Instagram in reaction to Mirzakhani’s death

Naderi later posted a time-lapse video of Mirzakhani presiding over a lecture hall, filling chalkboards with a proof. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her math". In 2008, at 31, she became a professor at Stanford. "Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring, and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world".

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, an associate professor at Stanford University, and daughter Anahita.

Her death was confirmed Saturday by Stanford University, where Mirzakhani had been a professor since 2008.

A year later, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a flawless score and win two gold medals at the Olympiad.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University, later taking a professorship at Stanford University.

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