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Iranian-American Woman Wins Top Mathematics Prize

  • George Putic

Professor Maryam Mirzakhani is the recipient of the 2014 Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. She is the first woman in the prize’s 80-year history to earn the distinction.

For the first time, the International Mathematical Union’s Fields medal, also known as the ‘Nobel Prize of mathematics’, has been awarded to a woman.

This year, the honor has gone to Iranian-born Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor, for her work on the symmetry of curved surfaces.

The prize will be officially presented today, (August 13) at the International Congress of Mathematicians, in Seoul, South Korea.

Mirzakhani’s work is considered to be ‘pure mathematics’, involving theoretical understanding of the symmetry of curved spaces and hyperbolic objects, but her findings may also have practical implications in quantum physics.

After graduating from Tehran's Sharif University of Technology, Maryam Mirzakhani went on to earn a doctorate at Harvard University in 2004.

She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband and young daughter.