## ARTICLE WAINAO N°59 - NUMBERS DONT LOVE

## THAT DAY

**August 12th 2014: Maryam Mirzakhani becomes the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields medal in mathematics.**

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##### Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. She was born in Iran, in 1977. Maryam was not really into mathematics at first. She was more niterested in reading novels or things like that.

She once said that her older brother was the reason why she started getting interested interested in science in general. “My first memory of mathematics is probably the time that he told me about the problem of adding numbers from 1 to 100. I think he had read in a popular science journal how Gauss solved this problem. The solution was quite fascinating for me. That was the first time I enjoyed a beautiful solution, though I couldn't find it myself”.

##### Maryam Mirzakhani attended Tehran Farzanegan where she won Mirzakhani achieved the gold medal level in the International Mathematical in 1994. she became the first Iranian student to achieve a perfect score and to win two gold medals. In 1999, she moved to the United States for graduate work. She earned a Ph.D, in 2004 from Harvard University, University of Chicago math professor Benson Farb said about her thesis that "Most mathematicians will never produce something so good ... and she did it right from her thesis," said at the time.

Mariam was willing to collaborate with other mathematicians and that's how she solved few of the most challenging, long-standing theorems.

Mirzakhani made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces. Mirzakhani’s early work solved the problem of counting simple closed geodesics on hyperbolic Riemann surfaces by finding a relationship to volume calculations on moduli space. Geodesics are the natural generalization of the idea of a "straight line" to "curved spaces". Slightly more formally, a curve is a geodesic if no slight deformation can make it shorter. Closed geodesics are geodesics which are also closed curves—that is, they are curves that close up into loops. A closed geodesic is simple if it does not cross itself.

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##### On 13 August 2014, Finally, after more than 50 male winners, Mirzakhani was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. She became the first woman AND the first Iranian to be honored with the award. Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path. Christiane Rousseau, vice president of the International Mathematics Union, said: "It's an extraordinary moment. Marie-Curie had Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry at the beginning of the 20th century, but in mathematics this is the first time we have a woman winning the most prestigious prize there is. This is a celebration for women."

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##### "I am thrilled that this day has finally come," said Sir Tim Gowers, a Fields medallist and mathematician at Cambridge University. "Although women have contributed to mathematics at the highest level for a long time, this fact has not been visible to the general public. I hope that the existence of a female Fields medallist, who will surely be the first of many, will put to bed many myths about women and mathematics, and encourage more young women to think of mathematical research as a possible career."

##### Edward Frenkel, a brilliant mathematician wriote a book named "Love and Math" said "Maryam Mirzakhani broke the glass ceiling and unleashed many vocations, both men and women."

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##### Maryam herself said one time;” I don't think that everyone should become a mathematician, but I do believe that many students don't give mathematics a real chance. I did poorly in math for a couple of years in middle school; I was just not interested in thinking about it. I can see that without being excited mathematics can look pointless and cold. The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.”

##### Maybe Mathematics should give a chance to everybody too.

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*To know more about the subject:*

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##### Chas, Moira (24 July 2017). "The Beautiful Mathematical Explorations of Maryam Mirzakhani". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2017.

Sample, Ian (13 August 2014). "Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.

President Rouhani Congratulates Iranian Woman for Winning Math Nobel Prize". Fars News Agency. 14 August 2014. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2014.

Jonathan, Webb (2014). "First female winner for Fields maths medal". BBC News. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.

Newhall, Marissa (13 September 2005). "'Brilliant' minds honored: Maryam Mirzakhani". USA Today. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

"Fields Medals 1936". mathunion.org. International Mathematical Union.

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