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Sunday, July 16, 2017


Maryham Mirzakhani -
first woman to win the coveted Fields Medal.
1977 - 2017

Maryham Mirzakhani left this Earth - at an early age of 40 years - she died from breast cancer.

She leaves behind her husband Jan Vondrak and a daughter named Anahita - numerous others - family, friends, supporters, students,  - others she touched - all admired her - genius.

In 2014  - Maryham Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal - the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics - awarded by the International Congress of Mathematicians.

Born in 1977 and raised in Tehran - Maryham attended an all girls high school and then studied at Tehran's Sharif University.

Maryham forte in the fields of  geometry and  dynamical systems - particularly in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces such as spheres -  brought her work nearer to the limelight of pure mathematics.

Pure mathematics is not for the faint of heart - one can delve into a " situation " - often taking months and even years - a maze of  puzzles lead to solutions - bringing one closer to the solution - until one day - a moment arrives -  the mathematician - solves the problem. Mathematicians wait for such moments.

At other times their work lead to discoveries - one of a kind - bring about progressive in scientific fields - buildings, engineering, science at its best and more.

Maryam Mirzakhani

I have some friends who are mathematicians - and understand more - why many of them are so focused - and so far away - from mundane issues.

 They delve  deep into a world - that only few know about - because that journey is long - and often times they are alone - until they see the light - at the end of the tunnel.

At times we have seen some of them women and men work as a team - as in the movie " Hidden Figures ". 

The central figure a Black woman - Katherine Johnson - who helped  put the first American  in space -  John Glen orbiting the Earth.

Katherine Johnson - a Black woman mathematician - who only recently has been acknowledged.

I am sure and confident that the passing of Maryam Mirzakhani - will shed light on many mathematical solutions.

That this light will illumine many bright minds - to work as a team - putting aside parochial mundane issues - that create divisiveness - instead of unity and progress - bring people together.

In 2008 Maryam Mirzakhani joined Stanford University in California - the United States of America - as a professor of Mathematics.

She leaves behind her husband - Jan Vondrak also a mathematics researcher at Stanford -  and a daughter Anahita.

My sincere deep condolences to the family and loved ones.

I have many Iranian friends - and felt that I should contribute this article on my blog - my little way of appreciating the deep friendship of the many Iranians I have befriended all these many years.

I visited many towns and Tehran in the 1970s - while the Shah of Iran was ruling - Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

I have found memories of that trip on my way by land to Europe.

Rest in Peace -
this Earth is a better place -
because of your light and presence
God bless your soul
we all shall treasure your contribution to the world.