Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win mathematics' Fields Medal, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani dead: Iranian math genius and first female Fields Medal winner loses cancer battle

Mirzakhani, 40, fought with cancer for four years and was hospitalized lately as the cancer has spread to her bone marrow.

The Fields Medal was established in 1936, and Mirzakhani became both the first woman and first Iranian to receive the award for her work on complex geometry and dynamical systems in 2014. Her paper "Growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces", she investigated the growth rate of the number of simple closed geodesics, as a function of their length, following her PhD entitled "Simple geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces and the volume of the moduli space of curves" on 2004 at Harvard University.

Iranian-American scientist Firouz Naderi shared his grief on Instagram. "Also, everyone has a different style, and something that works for one person might not be so great for others", she said.

"Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science", Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement published Saturday.

Mirzakhani at the time said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, before taking an interest in mathematical problems.

Mirzakhani was also a two-time gold medal victor in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a victor of the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society. She had breast cancer. She became a professor at Stanford University in 2008.

"It is fun; it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case", she said in 2014.

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani is the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. In a way, she told Quanta, working on mathematics is a lot like writing a novel.

Following earlier news that Mirzakhani's health had taken a turn for the worse, a spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry told Mehr News that Iranians worldwide were proud of her.

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