Stanford professor Maryam Mirzakhani dies of cancer at age 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, who in 2014 became the first woman awarded the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics, has died at the age of 40.

She later graduated from Sharif University in Tehran and then headed to Harvard University in MA, to obtain her doctorate in mathematics.

Mirzakhani, while solving mathematical problems, often drew on large sheets of paper while scribbling formulas on the edges, an approach that her young daughter believed to be a form of painting, according to Stanford.

Mirzakhani said she enjoyed pure mathematics because of the elegance and longevity of the questions she studies.

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Mirzakhani was born on May 3, 1997. "Mirzakhani was the first Iranian woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences previous year, in recognition of her 'distinguished achievement in original research.' She was in good company: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were past honorees".

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said: "Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science".

Firouz Naderi, her friend and NASA scientist, confirmed Mirzakhani's death on Instagram.

She said the 2014 award was a great honor.

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Mirzakhani attended an all-girls high school in Tehran and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war. In 2014 Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, which is awarded by the International Congress of Mathematicians.

Mirzakhani was also a two-time gold medal victor in the International Mathematical Olympiad, a victor of the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society. The disease finally spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said.

In the same interview, she said she spent her free time with family and her husband.

As a professor and scholar, Mirzakhani's pictures helped her write stories with her math. "But also a daughter, a mother and a wife".

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