The First Woman In The World To Win Mathematics' Highest Prize Dies After Battling Cancer
Maryam Mirzakhani, an award-winning Iranian mathematician, passed away on 15 July after losing her battle with breast cancer at a hospital in the United States
Reports say the 40-year-old's breast cancer had spread to her bones.
Maryam had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, a year before she became the first ever woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal.
The Fields Medal, also known as the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.
Maryan, who is of Iranian descent, was only 40. She was married to Jan Vondrák, a theoretical computer scientist.
She is survived by her husband and their daughter, Anahita.
Born in 1977, Maryam, who was brought up in post-revolutionary Iran, earned a PhD at Harvard University in 2004, and later a professorship at Stanford. As a teenager, she won two gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad.
In 2014, she finally ended the long wait for women in the mathematics community by winning the Fields Medal, which was first established in 1936.
The late professor, an inspiration for young female mathematicians, had dreamt of being a writer as a child
However, in a 2008 interview, she revealed why she took up maths instead.
"As a kid, I dreamt of becoming a writer. My most exciting pastime was reading novels; in fact, I would read anything I could find. I never thought I would pursue mathematics before my last year in high school.
"I grew up in a family with three siblings. My parents were always very supportive and encouraging. It was important for them that we have meaningful and satisfying professions, but they didn’t care as much about success and achievement. In many ways, it was a great environment for me, though these were hard times during the Iran-Iraq war.
"My older brother was the person who got me interested in science in general. He used to tell me what he learned in school. My first memory of mathematics is probably the time that he told me about the problem of adding numbers from 1 to 100.
"I think he had read in a popular science journal how Gauss solved this problem. The solution was quite fascinating for me. That was the first time I enjoyed a beautiful solution, though I couldn’t find it myself."
Following Maryam's passing, her friend and Nasa scientist, Firouz Naderi, posted on Instagram, saying: "A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon,"