Maryam Mirzakhani
Maryam Mirzakhani  

Mirzakhani at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, where she received her Fields Medal


Native name  Persian: مریم میرزاخانی 
Born 
Tehran, Iran 
3 May 1977
Died  14 July 2017 Stanford, California, U.S. 
(aged 40)
Nationality  Iranian^{[1]}^{[2]} 
Fields  Mathematics 
Institutions  
Education 
Sharif University of Technology (BSc) Harvard University (PhD) 
Thesis  Simple geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces and the volume of the moduli space of curves (2004) 
Doctoral advisor  Curtis T. McMullen^{[3]} 
Other academic advisors  Ebadollah S. Mahmoodian^{[4]} 
Notable awards 

Spouse  Jan Vondrák 
Children  1 
Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی, pronounced [mæɾˈjæm miːɾzɑːxɑːˈniː]; 3 May 1977 – 14 July 2017) was an Iranian^{[5]}^{[6]}^{[1]} mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University.^{[7]}^{[8]}^{[9]} Her research topics included Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.^{[1]}
On 13 August 2014, Mirzakhani was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics.^{[10]}^{[11]} Thus, she became both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award.^{[12]} The award committee cited her work in "the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".^{[13]}
On 14 July 2017, Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40.^{[14]}
Contents
Early life and education
Mirzakhani was born on 3 May 1977 in Tehran, Iran. Her father Ahmad is an electrical engineer.^{[15]} She attended Tehran Farzanegan School there, part of the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET). In 1994, Mirzakhani achieved the gold medal level in the International Mathematical Olympiad, the first female Iranian student to do so.^{[16]} In the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a perfect score and to win two gold medals.^{[17]}^{[18]}^{[19]}
She obtained her BSc in mathematics in 1999 from the Sharif University of Technology. She then went to the United States for graduate work, earning her Ph.D. in 2004 from Harvard University, where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis T. McMullen.^{[20]}
Career
Mirzakhani was a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University.^{[21]} In 2008, she became a professor at Stanford University.^{[13]}^{[22]}
Research work
Mirzakhani made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces. In her early work, Mirzakhani discovered a formula expressing the volume of the moduli space of surfaces of type (g,n) with given boundary lengths as a polynomial in those lengths. This led her to obtain a new proof for the formula discovered by Edward Witten and Maxim Kontsevich on the intersection numbers of tautological classes on moduli space,^{[7]} as well as an asymptotic formula for the growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on a compact hyperbolic surface, generalizing the theorem of the three geodesics for spherical surfaces.^{[23]} Her subsequent work focused on Teichmüller dynamics of moduli space. In particular, she was able to prove the longstanding conjecture that William Thurston's earthquake flow on Teichmüller space is ergodic.^{[24]}
Most recently as of 2014, with Alex Eskin and with input from Amir Mohammadi, Mirzakhani proved that complex geodesics and their closures in moduli space are surprisingly regular, rather than irregular or fractal.^{[25]}^{[26]} The closures of complex geodesics are algebraic objects defined in terms of polynomials and therefore they have certain rigidity properties, which is analogous to a celebrated result that Marina Ratner arrived at during the 1990s.^{[26]} The International Mathematical Union said in its press release that "It is astounding to find that the rigidity in homogeneous spaces has an echo in the inhomogeneous world of moduli space."^{[26]}
Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".^{[27]} The award was made in Seoul at the International Congress of Mathematicians on 13 August.^{[28]} At the time of the award, Jordan Ellenberg explained her research to a popular audience:
[Her] work expertly blends dynamics with geometry. Among other things, she studies billiards. But now, in a move very characteristic of modern mathematics, it gets kind of meta: She considers not just one billiard table, but the universe of all possible billiard tables. And the kind of dynamics she studies doesn't directly concern the motion of the billiards on the table, but instead a transformation of the billiard table itself, which is changing its shape in a rulegoverned way; if you like, the table itself moves like a strange planet around the universe of all possible tables ... This isn't the kind of thing you do to win at pool, but it's the kind of thing you do to win a Fields Medal. And it's what you need to do in order to expose the dynamics at the heart of geometry; for there's no question that they're there.^{[29]}
In 2014, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran congratulated her for winning the topmost world mathematics prize.^{[30]}
Mirzakhani has an Erdős number of 3.^{[31]}
Personal life
In 2005, Mirzakhani married Jan Vondrák, a Czech theoretical computer scientist and applied mathematician who currently is an associate professor at Stanford University.^{[32]}^{[33]} They have a daughter named Anahita.^{[34]} Mirzakhani lived in Palo Alto, California.^{[35]}
Mirzakhani described herself as a "slow" mathematician, saying that "you have to spend some energy and effort to see the beauty of math." To solve problems, Mirzakhani would draw doodles on sheets of paper and write mathematical formulas around the drawings. Her daughter described her mother's work as "painting".^{[36]}
She declared:
I don't have any particular recipe [for developing new proofs] ... It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.^{[36]}
Death and legacy
Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.^{[37]} In 2016, the cancer spread to her bones and liver,^{[36]}^{[38]} and she died on 14 July 2017 at the age of 40 at Stanford Hospital in Stanford, California.^{[36]}^{[39]}^{[40]}^{[41]}
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and other officials published condolences messages and praised Mirzakhani's scientific achievements. Rouhani said in his message that "unprecedented brilliance of this creative scientist and modest human being, who made Iran's name resonate in the world's scientific forums, was a turning point in showing the great will of Iranian women and young people on the path towards reaching the peaks of glory and in various international arenas."^{[42]} Sharif University of Technology, the place where Mirzakhani studied, announced that its faculty of mathematics will be renamed to "Mirzakhani".^{[citation needed]}
Upon her death, several Iranian newspapers, along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, broke taboo and published photographs of Mirzakhani with her hair uncovered, a gesture that was widely noted in the press and on social media.^{[43]}^{[44]}^{[45]}^{[46]} Mirzakhani's death has also renewed debates within Iran regarding matrilineal citizenship for children of mixednationality parentage; Fars News Agency reported that, on the heels of Mirzakhani's death, 60 Iranian MPs urged the speeding up of an amendment to a law that would allow children of Iranian mothers married to foreigners to be given Iranian nationality, in order to make it easier for Mirzakhani's daughter to visit Iran. Mirzakhani had previously applied for citizenship for her daughter.^{[43]}^{[45]}^{[47]}^{[48]}^{[49]}^{[50]}
Numerous obituaries and tributes were published in the days following Maryam Mirzakhani's death.^{[51]}^{[52]}^{[53]}^{[54]}
Awards and honors
 Gold medal. International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong 1994)
 Gold medal. International Mathematical Olympiad (Canada 1995)
 IPM Fellowship, Tehran, Iran, 1995–1999^{[1]}
 Merit fellowship Harvard University, 2003^{[1]}
 Harvard Junior Fellowship Harvard University, 2003^{[1]}
 Clay Mathematics Institute Research Fellow 2004^{[55]}
 AMS Blumenthal Award 2009^{[56]}
 Invited to talk at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2010, on the topic of "Topology and Dynamical Systems & ODE"^{[57]}
 The 2013 AMS Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics. "Presented every two years by the American Mathematical Society, the Satter Prize recognizes an outstanding contribution to mathematics research by a woman in the preceding six years. The prize was awarded on 10 January 2013, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego."^{[56]}
 Simons Investigator Award 2013^{[58]}
 Named one of Nature magazine's ten "people who mattered" of 2014^{[59]}
 Clay Research Award 2014^{[60]}
 Plenary speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM 2014)
 Fields Medal 2014^{[61]}^{[62]}
 Elected foreign associate to the French Academy of Sciences in 2015^{[63]}
 Elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2015^{[64]}
 National Academy of Sciences 2016^{[65]}
 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017^{[66]}
See also
References
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 ^ Valette, Alain. "The Fields Medalists 2014" (PDF). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Institut de mathématiques, Université de Neuchâtel. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
 ^ Jonathan, Webb (2014). "First female winner for Fields maths medal". BBC News. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
 ^ "Private Funeral of Professor Mirzakhani to be held in the United States", Iranian Students News Agency (in Persian), 19 July 2017, 96042715699, retrieved 19 July 2017
 ^ "Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win maths' Fields Medal, dies – BBC News". Bbc.com. 20140812. Retrieved 20170716.
 ^ Chang, Kenneth (16 July 2017). "Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win a Fields Medal, Dies at 40". The New York Times.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} Mirzakhani, Maryam (2007). "WeilPetersson volumes and intersection theory on the moduli space of curves" (PDF). Journal of the American Mathematical Society. 20: 1–23. MR 2257394. doi:10.1090/S0894034706005261.
 ^ Mirzakhani, Maryam (January 2007). "Simple geodesics and WeilPetersson volumes of moduli spaces of bordered Riemann surfaces". Inventiones Mathematicae. SpringerVerlag. 167 (1): 179–222. ISSN 14321297. doi:10.1007/s0022200600132.
 ^ "Report of the President to the Board of Trustees". Stanford University. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
 ^ "President Rouhani Congratulates Iranian Woman for Winning Math Nobel Prize". Fars News Agency. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
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 ^ correspondent, Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran (20170716). "Maryam Mirzakhani: Iranian newspapers break hijab taboo in tributes". The Guardian. ISSN 02613077. Retrieved 20170718.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} Sample, Ian (13 August 2014). "Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
 ^ "Maryam Mirzakhani's Pioneering Mathematical Legacy". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20170718.
 ^ "Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win a Fields Medal, Dies at 40". New York Times, 2017/07/16 Kenneth Chang
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 ^ "Iranian woman wins maths' top prize". New Scientist. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
 ^ Newhall, Marissa (13 September 2005). "'Brilliant' minds honored: Maryam Mirzakhani". USA Today.
 ^ https://www.genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/id.php?id=91093
 ^ Maryam Mirzakhani's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
 ^ "Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Receive the Prestigious Fields Medal, Dies at the Age of 40 After Breast Cancer Battle". People Magazine, By Yvonne Juris on July 16, 2017
 ^ Mirzakhani, Maryam (2008). "Growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces". Annals of Mathematics. 168 (1): 97–125. MR 2415399. Zbl 1177.37036. doi:10.4007/annals.2008.168.97.
 ^ Mirzakhani, M. (2008). "Ergodic Theory of the Earthquake Flow". International Mathematics Research Notices. 2008. MR 2416997. doi:10.1093/imrn/rnm116.
 ^ Eskin, Alex; Mirzakhani, Maryam; Mohammadi, Amir (2015). "Isolation, equidistribution, and orbit closures for the SL(2,R) action on moduli space". Annals of Mathematics. 182 (2): 673–721. doi:10.4007/annals.2015.182.2.7.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} ^{c} "The Work of Maryam Mirzakhani" (PDF) (Press release). International Mathematics Union. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
 ^ "IMU Prizes 2014 citations". International Mathematical Union. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
 ^ Stanford's Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal, Bjorn Carey, Stanford.edu, Retrieved 12 August 2016
 ^ Ellenberg, Jordan (13 August 2014). "Math Is Getting Dynamic". Slate.
 ^ "President hails Prof Mirzakhani, winner of topmost world math prize". Official Site of the President of The Islamic Republic of Iran. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
 ^ "Collaboration paths to Paul Erdős". The Erdős Number Project.
 ^ "بیوگرافی مریم میرزاخانی؛ ستاره پرفروغ دنیای ریاضیات [Biography Maryam Mirzakhani; the bestselling star of the world of mathematics]" (in Persian). Zoomit. 24 July 2011.
 ^ "Jan Vondrák, CV" (PDF). Stanford University. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
 ^ "A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces", simonsfoundation.org. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
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 ^ ^{a} ^{b} ^{c} ^{d} Myers, Andrew; Carey, Bjorn (15 July 2017). "Maryam Mirzakhani, Stanford mathematician and Fields Medal winner, dies". Stanford News. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
 ^ "PressTVIranian math genius battles cancer at US hospital". Presstv.ir. Retrieved 20170716.
 ^ FrancePresse, Agence. "Sorrow as Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win mathematics' Fields Medal, dies aged 40". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
 ^ "Maryam Mirzakhani died" (in Persian). Mehr news Agancy. 15 July 2017.
 ^ Chang, Kenneth (16 July 2017). "Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win a Fields Medal, Dies at 40". The New York Times.
 ^ "مریم میرزاخانی، ریاضیدان برجسته ایرانی درگذشت [Maryam Mirzakhani, a prominent Iranian mathematician, died]" (in Persian). BBC Persian. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
 ^ "Iranian math genius Mirzakhani passes away". 15 July 2017.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} correspondent, Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran (20170716). "Maryam Mirzakhani: Iranian newspapers break hijab taboo in tributes". The Guardian. ISSN 02613077. Retrieved 20170718.
 ^ Samuel, Sigal. "Why Iran Broke Its Strict Hijab Rules for the 'Queen of Math'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20170718.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} Staff, The Wire. "Iranian Media Break Hijab Taboo in Tributes to Maryam Mirzakhani". thewire.in. Retrieved 20170719.
 ^ "Iranian Press Flouts Hijab Rules In Death Tributes To Trailblazing Maths Genius". HuffPost UK. 20170717. Retrieved 20170719.
 ^ "اصلاح قانون تابعیت عمل به وصیتنامه مرحوم میرزاخانی نابغه ریاضی جهان را ...". Kodoom.com (in Persian). Retrieved 20170719.
 ^ Harris, Chris (20170717). "How death of maths genius Mirzakhani is breaking taboos for women in Iran". euronews. Retrieved 20170719.
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 ^ "Iranian newspapers break hijab taboo in tribute to Maryam Mirzakhani  The Siasat Daily". www.siasat.com. Retrieved 20170719.
 ^ "A Tribute to Maryam Mirzakhani". American Mathematical Society. 18 July 2017. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
 ^ Roberts, Siobhan (17 July 2017). "Maryam Mirzakhani's Pioneering Mathematical Legacy". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
 ^ Chas, Moira (24 July 2017). "The Beautiful Mathematical Explorations of Maryam Mirzakhani". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
 ^ Halpern, Paul (1 August 2017). "Maryam Mirzakhani, A Candle Illuminating the Dark". Forbes. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
 ^ "Interview with Research Fellow Maryam Mirzakhani" (PDF). Oxford University. 2008.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 6 January 2009
 ^ "ICM Plenary and Invited Speakers since 1897". International Congress of Mathematicians. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
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 ^ Gibney, E.; Leford, H.; Lok, C.; Hayden, E.C.; Cowen, R.; Klarreich, E.; Reardon, S.; Padma, T.V.; Cyranoski, D.; Callaway, E. (18 December 2014). "Nature's 10 Ten people who mattered this year". Nature. 516: 311–319. PMID 25519114. doi:10.1038/516311a.
 ^ "2014 Clay Research Awards".
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External links
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Maryam Mirzakhani 
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maryam Mirzakhani. 
 Official Website of Maryam Mirzakhani (in Persian)
 Carey, Bjorn (12 Aug 2014). "Stanford's Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal". Stanford News. Retrieved 13 Aug 2014.
 "Maryam Mirzakhani's work on Riemann surfaces explained in simple terms". Matific. 14 Aug 2014. Retrieved 18 Aug 2014.
 1977 births
 2017 deaths
 21stcentury mathematicians
 Deaths from cancer in California
 Deaths from breast cancer
 Dynamical systems theorists
 Fields Medalists
 Geometers
 Harvard University alumni
 Institute for Advanced Study visiting scholars
 International Mathematical Olympiad participants
 Iranian expatriates in the United States
 Iranian expatriate academics
 Iranian mathematicians
 Iranian women scientists
 Members of the American Philosophical Society
 Members of the French Academy of Sciences
 Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences
 People from Tehran
 Sharif University of Technology alumni
 Stanford University Department of Mathematics faculty
 Tehran Farzanegan high school alumni
 Topologists
 Women mathematicians