пятница, 15 августа 2014 г.

Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal

Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal -- known as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics" -- since the award was established in 1936. The Stanford mathematics professor was awarded the prestigious honor for her contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems. 

In Quanta Magazine, Mirzakhani describes how she decided from a young age that she wanted to do something great with her life. As a young child, she loved reading and would tell herself stories about the adventures of a remarkable girl who would travel the world, become mayor, and perform incredible feats. She was inspired by female role models such as Marie Curie and Helen Keller and had hopes of one day becoming a writer. 

Her ambitions changed in middle school when she first discovered her aptitude for math with the help of a supportive teacher. By the time she reached high school, Mirzakhani made Iran's International Mathematical Olympiad team -- a first for a girl. She won gold medals two years in a row and became the first Iranian student to achieve a perfect score her second year. She says the challenge of the competitions helped deepen her love of mathematics. "You have to spend some energy and effort to see the beauty of math," she explained.

After attending college in Iran, she went on to graduate school at Harvard University where she became fascinated by hyperbolic geometry. This interest inspired much of her early work which, according to Stanford News, involved "solving the decades-old problem of calculating the volumes of moduli spaces of curves on objects known as Riemann surfaces." 

Now a professor of mathematics at Stanford, Mirzakhani is honored to be the first female recipient of the Fields Medal. She told Stanford News, "This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians." And, she believes that there will be many more women honored in the future because “there are really many great female mathematicians doing great things."

To read an excellent profile on Maryam Mirzakhani in Quanta Magazine athttp://bit.ly/1AbMquq

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