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Women in Science

Maryam Mirzakhari (b.1977)

Maryam Mirzakhani Professor of Mathematics and 2014 Fields Medal winner, Maryam Mirzakhani is best known for her contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Mirzakhani was an early stand out on the international stage, winning back to back International Math Olympiad gold medals in 1994 and 1995 as a teen. She studied as an undergrad at Sharif University of Technology, before moving on to Harvard University to work on her doctorate. From 2004-2008, Mirzakhani was a Clay Mathematics Research Fellow, and assistant professor at Stanford. She became professor of mathematics in 2009, and remained at Stanford until her death in 2017.

Marzakhani was the first female awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, for "outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".  Her work in theoretical mathematics has been described as "truly spectacular", "creative" and "titanic work". She tackled proofs that many other could or would not take on. She is best known for work in describing complexities of curved surfaces such as spheres and hyperbolic objects in great detail, and her theoretical work may have contributions reaching the fields of theoretical physics, quantum field theory, and engineering and material science. 

Sources: 

Carey, Bjorn. "Stanford's Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal." Stanford Report, Stanford University, 12 Aug. 2014, news.stanford.edu/news/2014/august/fields-medal-mirzakhani-081214.html. Accessed 29 Jan. 2019.

"Fields Medals 2014." International Mathematics Union, IMU, www.mathunion.org/imu-awards/fields-medal/fields-medals-2014. Accessed 29 Jan. 2019.

Myers, Andrew and Bjorn Carey. "Maryam Mirzakhani, Stanford mathematician and Fields Medal winner, dies" Stanford News, July 15, 2017. https://news.stanford.edu/2017/07/15/maryam-mirzakhani-stanford-mathematician-and-fields-medal-winner-dies/. Accessed 29 Jan. 2019. 

Image credit: 

"Fields Medals 2014." International Mathematics Union, IMU, www.mathunion.org/imu-awards/fields-medal/fields-medals-2014. Accessed 29 Jan. 2019.

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