Iranian-origin Harvard-studied maths wizard Maryam Mirzakhani died aged 40 after a long battle with breast cancer that had spread to her bones. "It breaks my heart...gone far too soon". Later he twitted: A genius? Yes. "But also a daughter, a mother and a wife".
Mirzakhani, who worked as a math professor at Stanford from 2008 until her death, won the Fields Medal in 2014, according to the university. Her death was confirmed Saturday by Stanford University, where Mirzakhani had been a professor since 2008.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) giving the prize to Maryam Mirzakhani (R), a Harvard educated mathematician and professor at Stanford University in California, at the awards ceremony for the Fields Medals during the International Congress of Mathematicians 2014 in Seoul. "But for myself, I prefer solo activities; I enjoy reading and exercising in my free time", she said. Iranian officials received heavy criticism for not using more recent pictures of Mirzakhani with short, uncovered hair, as she appeared at Fields Medal awarding ceremony. Despite an auspicious start, she said that she had no intention of pursing mathematics.
Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and - by her own estimation - was fortunate to come of age after the Iran-Iraq war when the political, social and economic environment had stabilized enough that she could focus on her studies.
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne called Mirzakhani a brilliant theorist "who made enduring contributions and inspired thousands of women to pursue math and science".
She won the prize for a 172-page paper on the trajectory of a billiards ball around a polygonal table that has been hailed as a "titanic work" and the "beginning of a new era" in mathematics.
"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", University of Wisconsin professor Jordan Ellenberg wrote in a Slate article in 2014.
Maryam Mirzakhani passed away today at 40-years-old.
Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, an associate professor at Stanford University, and daughter Anahita.