Sunday 12 May 2024

Maryam Mirzakhani


Maryam was born into an ordinary middle-class family in Tehran on May 12, 1977. Her childhood and adolescence were not very easy. We all know how Iranian society is for girls. Despite that, Maryam utilized every opportunity she got, applying her intelligence and determination to excel.

Her love for mathematics wasn't something that came to her from childhood. Like other girls of her age, she read stories and dreamed of becoming a writer one day. But when she discovered the joy of unravelling the mysteries of mathematics, she was hooked. She challenged herself day after day.

Maryam in Iran

In 1994, she won the gold medal with 41 points out of 42 in the International Mathematical Olympiad held in Hong Kong. The following year, she once again won the gold medal with a perfect score of 42 out of 42 points in the Mathematical Olympiad held in Canada. In 1999, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Sharif University of Technology in Iran. Later, she earned scholarships from Harvard University to pursue her master's and Ph.D. degrees. After completing her Ph.D. in 2004, she received an offer from Princeton University. From there, at the age of just 31 in 2008, she joined Stanford University as a full professor.

Maryam at home

Maryam's research primarily focused on the intersection of geometry and mathematical physics. In 2014, she received the Fields Medal for her contributions to geometric analysis on the Riemann surface. In the history of mathematics, Maryam made history as the first woman to win the Fields Medal.

In mathematics, there is no Nobel Prize awarded. However, the most prestigious award in mathematics, equivalent to the Nobel Prize in mathematics, is the Fields Medal. It was established in 1936. Every four years, at the International Mathematical Union's International Congress, four young mathematicians are awarded the Fields Medal for their contributions. Named after Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields, the Fields Medal also comes with a monetary award of fifteen thousand dollars. The age of mathematicians is also taken into consideration for the award. Those over forty are not eligible. To be considered for the award, one must be under forty on January 1st of the year when the award is given.

Maryam Mirzakhani was a rising star in mathematics. In 2015, she received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society and the Academy of Sciences in France. In 2017, she was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Alongside her academic pursuits, Maryam had a beautiful home life filled with love. She married Czech computer scientist Jan Vondrák. Jan is also a professor at Stanford University. They have a little daughter together - Anahita.

Maryam with her husband Jan and daughter Anahita

Maryam was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Treatment was ongoing, but unfortunately, the cancer could not be stopped. Within just four years, the cancer spread to her bones and marrow. On July 15, 2017, Maryam Mirzakhani passed away.

Etched on the Fields Medal is an image of Archimedes and a Latin quote - "Transire suum pectus mundoque potiri," which translates to "Rise above oneself and grasp the world" in English. In her mere forty years of life, Maryam Mirzakhani truly transcended herself and conquered the world in Mathematical research. 

On Maryam's birthday today, this is my respect and love to her. Happy birthday, Maryam.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Latest Post

Memories of My Father - Part 2

  In our childhood and even in our adulthood, there was no tradition of celebrating birthdays. We didn't even remember when anyone's...

Popular Posts