President Rouhani Expresses Sorrow over Demise of Iranian Mathematician

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".

"This is a great honor", she was quoted as saying in 2014. She then taught at Princeton University before moving to Stanford in 2008.

The quadrennial Fields Medal, which Mirzakhani won in 2014, is the most prestigious award in mathematics, often equated in stature with the Nobel Prize.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and after fiercely batting this disgusting disease for four years, she died on July 15, 2017.

Iran's Mehr News Agency cited one of Mirzakhani's relatives as confirming her death on Saturday (15 July).

Firouz Naderi, her friend and NASA scientist, confirmed Mirzakhani's death on Instagram. "Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path".

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In a tweet, Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator for the Islamic Republic of Iran, also expressed his sorrow over Mirzakhani's death. "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". In 1995, she notched a ideal score and two gold medals. "Sad to learn about the passing of #MaryamMirzakhani - the intelligent #Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor".

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University, later taking a professorship at Stanford University.

According to the awarding committee, Mirzakhani's genius came from her "rare combination of superb technical ability, bold ambition, far-reaching vision, and deep curiosity". The disease finally spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said. Through it all, Maryam Mirzakhani never settled for the low-hanging fruit, but for the brass ring.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband and daughter.

Early in her life, Mirzakhani had wanted to be a writer.

  • Douglas Reid