Iranian-born Stanford University Professor Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first ever woman to win the Fields Medal, regarded as the ‘Nobel Prize of Maths.” The Fields Medal was first awarded in 1936. Maryam Mirzakhani is the first and only female among 56 mathematicians who have received this prestigious honor.
Maryam Mirzakhani hopes her achievement would encourage other females
The Fields Medal is given every four years. Mirzakhani was one of the four winners honored at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday. She was recognized for her work on complex geometry. Most of her work revolves around the behavior of dynamic systems. The other recipients were Dr Artur Avila, a Brazilian mathematics genius who earned his PhD at 21; Prof Manjul Bhargava, a number theorist at Princeton University; and Prof Martin Hairer of the University of Warwick, UK.
Maryam Mirzakhani’s achievement was hailed as a “long due.” Mirzakhani said in a Stanford press release that it was a great honor, and she would be happy if it encourages other your female mathematicians and scientists. Ingrid Daubechies, president of the International Mathematical Union, said the mathematics world would be happy because now nobody can say that the Fields Medal has been awarded only to men.
Maryam Mirzakhani won gold at 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad
Born in 1977 in Tehran, she dreamed of becoming a writer. But her elder brother drew her attention to mathematics. Maryam Mirzakhani received international recognition when she was still 17 by winning gold medal at the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad. She won gold medal yet again at the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad. Mirzakhani earned her PhD from Harvard.
The field of mathematics is still dominated by men. All the 14 recipients of the Abel Prize awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters have been men. Another prestigious award, Wolf Prize in Mathematics, has never gone to a woman. The Fields Medal was conceived by Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields. It is awarded to mathematicians age 40 or below.