Sci-tech

First woman to win highest math award dies at 40

First woman to win highest math award dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, the 40-year-old Iranian that won math's most prestigious prize, died Saturday after a four-year battle with breast cancer, the BBC reported.

Three years later, the Iranian math prodigy died on Saturday of cancer in a USA hospital.

Some social media users criticised Iranian officials for not using recent images of Prof Mirzakhani which showed her uncovered hair.

"In short, Mirzakhani was fascinated by the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces - spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas", Stanford said in a news release.

"This isn't the kind of thing you do to win at pool, but it's the kind of thing you do to win a Fields Medal", University of Wisconsin professor Jordan Ellenberg wrote in a Slate article in 2014. Mirzakhani was the first woman and first Iranian to receive the honor since its creation in 1936. She won two gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad, bringing home the top honors in 1994 and 1995.

Her work could help advance understanding in physics, quantum mechanics and areas outside math, Stanford said in an online news article about her death.

Describing Mirzakhani as a brilliant mathematical theorist, Tessier-Lavigne added, "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".

Stanford University in California - where she had been a professor since 2008 - didn't indicate where she died.

Echoing similar view, Mirzakhani's friend from NASA, Firouz Naderi, said, "A light was turned off today". "Sad to learn about the passing of #MaryamMirzakhani - the intelligent #Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

In the same interview, she said she spent her free time with family and her husband.

The resulting paper, now more than 200 pages in length, was published in 2013.

Mirzakhani enjoyed pure mathematics because of its "elegance and longevity", she said.

The president further expressed condolences to the country's scientific community and the bereaved family of Mirzakhani over her death.