In Memoriam to Dr. Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the Fields Prize for Mathematics

What is the Fields Medal? 

The Fields Medal, often described as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics,” is regarded as the most prestigious award in the field of mathematics. 

Maryam Mirzakhani who was the first and only woman to ever win the prestigious Fields medal in mathematics, passed away this month at age 40. Her story is an inspiration to any girl wanting to explore the STEM fields. 

Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, courtesy of Stanford University

Mirzakhani originally dreamed of becoming a writer but then shifted to mathematics, her passion and gift for mathematics eventually won out. 

“It is fun — it’s like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case,” Mirzakhani said when she won the prestigious Fields Medal in 2014. “I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path.”

Born on May 3, 1977, in Tehran , she read voraciously and wanted to become a writer. Iran was at war with Iraq at the time, but the war ended as she entered middle school.

In high school, she was a member of the Iranian team at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She won a gold medal in the Olympiad in 1994, and the next year won another gold medal, with a perfect score, after becoming the first girl ever named to this team.
After completing a bachelor’s degree at Sharif University of Technology in 1999, she went to the United States for graduate work, earning her Ph.D. in 2004 from Harvard University. She then went on to become a professor at Princeton, then Stanford in 2008.

Dr. Mirzakhani was also the first Iranian woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences last year, in recognition of her ‘distinguished achievement in original research.’ Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were past honorees.
For girls wanting to enter STEM field, Dr. Mirzakhani is an inspiration that no matter what the obstacles, you can achieve your dreams. 

GSCCC is spearheading new STEM programs for girls across our six counties, so please stay tuned for more information coming up this week on how you can get involved with all things STEM, whether you want to learn coding, robotics or cyber security, the sky is the limit!

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