Iranian Woman wins Highest Prize in Math – Fields Medal

Maryam Mirzakhani, a Professor at Stanford, was one of four winners honored Wednesday at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul. 

She was honored in 2014 and she died of breast cancer at age 40 in July 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani Becomes First Woman To Win Prestigious Fields Medal

Our Source: The Huffington Post

12 replies

  1. Quoting Guardian UK

    Finally, after more than 50 male winners, a Fields Medal goes to a woman mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani. If you tossed a coin 51 times, your probability of 50 tails then a head would be less than one in 2,250,000,000,000,000; but nowadays close to half of maths undergraduates are women. That is a pretty stark juxtaposition. Does Mirzakhani’s success mark a turning point in the battle for women to gain more recognition in mathematics?

    All Fields medallists are outstanding in the literal sense of the word – their achievements surpass almost everybody else’s. Their confluence of raw ability, personality, upbringing, education, support and mentoring, as well as simple good fortune, is right out in the far tail of the distribution of such things. Data is scarce in this rarefied region, and hypotheses are hard to test; so, too, is the influence of the culture of their chosen field. Nevertheless, such astronomical odds of a woman winning the medal are disturbing, and they are just an extreme point of a range of evidence that women are underrepresented in mathematics at many levels.

    An intellectually honest (albeit politically loaded) starting point is the question: is innate talent (whatever that means) even slightly different between women and men, perhaps especially at the very top? Even in ideal circumstances it would be very hard to answer – perhaps neural imaging techniques will eventually help – but even if there is a difference, detecting it is immensely complicated by the social and cultural setting.

    For example, there is evidence that women with excellent mathematical skills are likely also to have excellent verbal skills, which is less so for their male counterparts; and so they have a greater range of opportunities in life, and may leave the quantitative careers to the men. In which case, does a predominance of men in quantitative jobs indicate a difference in quantitative ability? There are other social factors, too. Women can bear children, men cannot, and the demands of parenthood conflict directly with the need for the sustained concentration that is so often crucial in cracking a mathematical problem. If, as seems likely, this impacts more on women than on men, how does that affect our view?

  2. Her name and her origin from Iran would very strongly suggest that she is a Muslim.

    Who would have thought that the first woman to win the highest mathematics award would be a Muslim?

    What a disappointment for Islamophobes and Mullahs!

  3. Great work. This tells that given opportunities no one can stay behind. It is the oppression of ideas and banning thinking which is a problem.

  4. Maryam can well be a Jewish or a Christian name. But hey she is an Iranian, more or less from my nook of the world, and so I will say God bless her for this achievement! In fact this is what came to mind when I first heard of the news:
    اللھم زد فزد

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