Iranian first woman to win ‘Nobel Prize of math’
search

Iranian first woman to win ‘Nobel Prize of math’

Maryam Mirzakhani awarded prestigious Fields Medal by the International Congress of Mathematicians

Iranian-born mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who became the first woman to win the Fields Medal in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube/News of the World)
Iranian-born mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who became the first woman to win the Fields Medal in 2014. (screen capture: YouTube/News of the World)

SEOUL, South Korea — An Iranian-born mathematician has become the first woman to win a prestigious Fields Medal, widely viewed as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Maryam Mirzakhani, a Harvard-educated mathematician and professor at Stanford University in California, was one of four winners announced by the International Congress of Mathematicians at its conference in Seoul on Wednesday.

An expert in the geometry of unusual forms, she crafted novel ways to calculate the volumes of oddly-shaped curved surfaces.

“Fluent in a remarkably diverse range of mathematical techniques and disparate mathematical cultures, she embodies a rare combination of superb technical ability, bold ambition, far-reaching vision, and deep curiosity,” the ICM said in a statement.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran in 1977 and earned her PhD in 2004 from Harvard University.

She has previously won the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.

The Fields Medal is given out every four years, often to multiple winners who should not be over 40 years of age.

The other three winners this year were Artur Avila of France, Manjul Bhargava of Princeton University in New Jersey, and Martin Hairer of the University of Warwick in Britain.

With no Nobel prize given for mathematics, the Fields Medal is regarded as the top global award for the discipline.

The medals were given out by South Korea’s first woman president, Park Geun-Hye.

“I congratulate all the winners, with special applause for Maryam Mirzakhani, whose drive and passion have made her the first woman to win a Fields Medal,” Park said.

Prior to Wednesday’s ceremony, all 52 previous recipients had been men.

“This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians,” Mirzakhani said in a press release from Stanford University.

“I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years,” she added.

Mirzakhani became known on the international mathematics scene as a teenager, winning gold medals at both the 1994 and 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad -– finishing with a perfect score in the latter competition.

In 2008, she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford, where she lives with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

“On behalf of the entire Stanford community, I congratulate Maryam on this incredible recognition, the highest honor in her discipline, the first ever granted to a woman,” said university president John Hennessy.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments