مریم میرزاخانی ‘A Jewel Named Maryam Mirzakhani

 مریم میرزاخانی ‘A Jewel Named Maryam Mirzakhani یک شنبه 25 تیر 1396

‘A Jewel Named Maryam Mirzakhani’

‘A Jewel Named Maryam Mirzakhani’

Iran’s former education minister has referred to the late Iranian math genius, Maryam Mirzakhani, as a gem stone, saying it was too early for her to die.

Former Iranian Education Minister Mohammad-Ali Najafi has, in a short piece, praised Iranian mathematical genius Maryam Mirzakhani, who died of cancer on June 15, 2017.

Najafi, who is also an advisor to President Hassan Rouhani, wrote the piece just two days before Mirzakhani, the first Iranian woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal, passed away.

What follows are excerpts of Najafi’s remarks published on Thursday in IRNA:

Mohammad-Ali NajafiMaryam Mirzakhani, the holder of the Fields Medal, the most prestigious math award in the world, is a gem stone for all women in Iran and across the world, and a paragon of modesty and philanthropy coupled with scientific and mental capability. We should pray for her. […]

Back in 1994 when I was Education Minister, Maryam and another girl (Ms. Roya Beheshti) were the first high school third-graders to become members of the National Students’ Maths Olympiad Team and leave for international competitions before they started their pre-university studies.

Given that the two were too young and even hadn’t finished their third grade, we didn’t expect too much of them. But much to our surprise, both won the gold medal and their performance astonished all participants. Maryam stood first in the event.

It was then when Maryam was identified as a genius. The following year, she got the complete score and won the gold medal again, standing first among the participants. Maryam continued her higher education at the Mathematics College of the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Fortunately, I could see for myself her brilliant accomplishments and progress.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she went to Harvard University where she received her Ph.D. and graduated summa cum laude. Then she began work as a professor at prestigious Princeton University.

Her mental innovations and eye-catching creativity saw her win numerous scientific awards, and finally she won the Fields Medal, the most prestigious math award in the world which is somehow regarded as the Math Nobel Prize.

Maryam could be compared with the greatest mathematicians such as Amalie Emmy Noether, and her works will undoubtedly continue to be used by the world’s scientific math circles for many years.

But what has impressed me more than Maryam’s math genius over the past years are her moral values, especially her simplicity, scientific modesty and other good characteristics, which have made a perfect man of her in the true sense of the word.

Maryam loved Iran, and during the years when she was staying in the United States, she travelled to Iran for several times and shared her research findings with Iranian mathematicians.

It would be too sad if the mathematics world and Iranian scientific community lose the dear Maryam so soon. There are still many unknown mathematical concepts which might come to light thanks to her creativity. Maryam’s genius could pave the way for great advances in the field of mathematics for many years. So, I ask all fellow Iranians to pray for her.

Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani (3rd girl from right) & other Iranian students take photo with former late president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani before departing for 1995 Math Olympiad in Canada
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  • Condolences Pour in for Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani

    Condolences Pour in for Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani

    Several Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani have sent messages of condolences and sympathy after the death of Maryam Mirzakhani, the Iranian winner of the Fields Medal who died of cancer on Saturday.

    In his message, President Rouhani said the demise of “the well-known mathematical genius” has caused deep sorrow for him.

    The president further expressed condolences to the country’s scientific community and the bereaved family of Mirzakhani over her death.

    Parliament Speaker Larijani, in his message of condolence, described Mirzakhani as a wise woman of science and an elite in world math whose demise has caused great sorrow.

    First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, senior conservative politician Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, and senior reformist lawmaker Mohammad Reza Aref also offered sympathy over Mirzakhani’s death.

    Health Minister Seyyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said in his message of condolence that “it is hard to believe” the heartbreaking news of her death.

    Zahra Ahmadipour, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), referred to Mirzakhani as a spiritual heritage of the Iranian nation and a genius who solved the ‘equation of life’, rushing to meet her Creator.

    “Iran and the world are shocked by the sudden incident,” she added.

    The French Embassy in Tehran and Gary Lewis, the UN’s Resident Coordinator in Iran, also sent separate messages of condolences after her tragic death.

  • Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani Dies of Cancer

    Iranian Math Genius Mirzakhani Dies of Cancer

    Maryam Mirzakhani, the internationally-renowned Iranian mathematician and the first female winner of Fields Medal, has died of cancer according to one of her relatives.

    Mirzakhani had been hospitalized in the US for deteriorating health conditions caused by cancer recurrence, but she succumbed to the disease on Saturday, one of her relatives told the Mehr News Agency.

    Her medical tests showed that cancer had spread to her bone marrow a few weeks ago.

    Maryam’s parents travelled to the US on Monday to join their daughter and her family and take care of them.

    Mirzakhani had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, a year before she set the record of the first ever woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

    The medical team had put the genius mathematician under intensive care to treat her third recurrence of cancer.

    In reaction to her death, Iranian space scientist Firouz Naderi said in his Instagram page, “A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart… Gone far too soon.”

    Firouz Naderi’s post in Instagram in reaction to Mirzakhani’s death

    The 40-year-old mathematician, a professor at Stanford University, was the first Iranian woman elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in May 2016, in recognition of her “distinguished and continuing achievement in original research.”

    With past honorees, including renowned physicist Albert Einstein, and inventors Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell, being a member of the organization is considered to be as one of the highest achievements for scientists in the United States, according to Press TV.

    Born in 1977 in Tehran, Mirzakhani was raised in the Iranian capital. As a brilliant teenager, she won gold medals in both the International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong 1994), in which she scored 41 out of 42 points, and the International Mathematical Olympiad (Canada 1995) with a perfect score of 42 out of 42 points, ranking her first jointly with 14 other participants.

    Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani (3rd girl from right) & other Iranian students take photo with former late president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani before departing for 1995 Math Olympiad in Canada

    The math genius received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology in 1999. She later went to the US to further her education, earning a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004.

    She became full professor of mathematics at the age of 31 in 2008 at Stanford University where she is currently lecturing.

    Mirzakhani received Blumenthal Award from the American Mathematical Society in 2009. She was also awarded the 2013 biennial Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics by the American Mathematical Society, and garnered the 2014 Clay Research Award from the Clay Mathematics Institute.

    Iranian math genius Maryam Mirzakhani and her daughter Anahita

    But the most important of all her awards was the 2014 Fields Medal that she won in recognition of her contributions to the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces. This medal, commonly viewed as the highest honor a mathematician can receive, is given every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40, by the International Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

    Mirzakhani’s research interests mainly included Teichmüller theory and ergodic theory. About her mathematical approach to developing new proofs, she had said “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.”

    Mirzakhani was married to Jan Vondrák, a Czech theoretical computer scientist who works at IBM Almaden Research Center. They have a daughter named Anahita.

  • IRNA

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