FNA – International Mathematical Union (IMU) named 3 May, the birthday of “Maryam Mirzakhani”, the International Women’s Day in Maths, on the proposal of the Women’s Committee of the Iranian Mathematical Society.
Persia Digest reports that, the proposal was approved by the Women’s General Assembly of the International Mathematical Union on 31 July.
For her work in “the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces”, Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics in 2014. She became both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award. Popular Science magazine in the United States recognized Mirzakhani as one of the top ten young minds of 2005 and a Brilliant Mind in mathematics.
On 14 July 2017, Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40 in California.
Born in 1977 in Tehran, Mirzakhani was raised in the Iranian capital, winning gold medals in both the International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong 1994), and the International Mathematical Olympiad (Canada 1995).
The math genius received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology in 1999, and then went to the US to further her education, earning a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004.
She became full professor of mathematics at the age of 31 in 2008 at Stanford University where she lectured last.
Mirzakhani received Blumenthal Award from the American Mathematical Society in 2009. She was also awarded the 2013 biennial Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics by the American Mathematical Society, and garnered the 2014 Clay Research Award from the Clay Mathematics Institute.
She was awarded the coveted Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics in 2014. The 40-year-old, who used to teach at Stanford University, was also the first Iranian woman to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in May 2016 in recognition of her “distinguished and continuing achievement in original research.”
Mirzakhani had recently been taken to hospital as her health condition worsened due to breast cancer. Cancerous cells had recently spread to her bone marrow.