Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday marked world’s Women in Mathematics Day

April 9, 2019

TEHRAN – The birthday of late Maryam Mirzakhani, Iranian-born genius mathematician and Stanford University professor, was designated as a day for celebrating women in mathematics.

Vice president for women’s and family affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, hailed nomination of Mirzakhani’s birthday (May 12) as a day for celebration of women in mathematics, IRNA reported.

At 2018 World Meeting for Mathematics, Iranian Mathematical Society proposed designating Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday as day for celebrating women in mathematics, Ebtekar wrote on her Twitter account on Thursday.

“At the 2018 World Meeting for Women in Mathematics, (WM)^2 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Women’s Committee of the Iranian Mathematical Society proposed designating Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday (May 12) as a day for celebrating women in mathematics,” according to Forbes.

“The proposal was approved. Globally, several organizations for women in mathematics support the initiative, including European Women in Mathematics, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the African Women in Mathematics Association, the Colectivo de Mujeres Matemáticas de Chile (Collective of Women Mathematicians in Chile) and Indian Women and Mathematics.”

"May 12th is a joyful opportunity for the mathematical community to celebrate women in mathematics. The celebration takes place every year, all around the world...The goal of the day is to inspire women everywhere to celebrate their achievements in mathematics, and to encourage an open, welcoming and inclusive work environment for everybody," according to the website for the initiative.

The Iranian winner of Fields Medal, also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics, Mirzakhani, passed away at 40 in a hospital in the U.S. on July 14, 2017.

In 1994, Mirzakhani won a gold medal in the Hong Kong International Mathematical Olympiad, to be the first female Iranian student to have received a gold medal. In the 1995 Toronto International Mathematical Olympiad, she became the first Iranian student to receive a perfect score and to win two gold medals.

She obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran. She went to the U.S. and got a PhD from Harvard University in 2004.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, a year before she set the record of the first ever woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics.

"Mirzakhani specialized in theoretical mathematics that read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry," according to a news release from Stanford University.

"Her work was highly theoretical in nature, but it could have impacts concerning the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist and, because it could inform quantum field theory, secondary applications to engineering and material science. 

Within mathematics, it has implications for the study of prime numbers and cryptography," the news release added.

NM/MQ/MG

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