Iran Mourns its Mathematical Genius


July 17th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Agencies – – by Samer Hussein –

Iran is mourning the death of one of the greatest scientists of our time, the mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who died at the age of 40, following a 4-year long battle with breast cancer.

The Stanford University professor was the first Iranian and so far the only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal prize in mathematics.

Born and educated in Tehran, Iran, Professor Mirzakhani later continued her studies at Harvard University, before joining Stanford University in 2008.

In 2014, she was a recipient of the Fields Medal, alongside 3 other people.

The prize, which is presented every four years by the International Mathematical Union, is often dubbed as the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

She was also named for her work on complex geometry and dynamic systems.

News of Mirzakhani’s passing was emotionally received not only in the US where she worked and lived, but also in her native country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement honouring Professor Mirzakhani, saying “The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heart-rending”, adding “the unprecedented brilliance of this creative scientist and modest human being, who made Iran’s name resonate in the world’s scientific forums, was a turning point in showing the great will of Iranian women and young people on the path towards reaching the peaks of glory and in various international arenas.”

“The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani’s passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists. I do offer my heartfelt condolences upon the passing of this lady scientist to all Iranians worldwide, her grieving family and the scientific community.”, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, wrote on his Instagram account.

Originally wanting to become a writer, Professor Mirzakhani later shifted her interests to mathematics.

She once described her work as like “being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.”

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


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