UN honors Iranian scientist Mirzakhani for her world-altering, trailblazing career

February 16, 2020 - 18:54

TEHRAN – The United Nations Women, a UN entity for gender equality and women's empowerment, have honored seven women scientists, including Iran’s Maryam Mirzakhani, who have made significant contributions to the field of science, highlighting their world-altering and trailblazing careers.

“They’ve discovered life-saving remedies, devised world-altering inventions, and produced far-reaching research, but in many cases, their invaluable advances are minimized or neglected,” the Un Women website wrote on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, February 11.

Maryam Mirzakhani, Iranian-born genius mathematician and Stanford University professor, obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran.

Later, she earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a leading scholar on the dynamics and geometry of complex surfaces. In 2014, she became the first female winner of the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics.

Although Mirzakhani passed away in 2017, her invaluable contributions to the field of mathematics endure, and her trailblazing career has paved the way forward for many women mathematicians to come.

Here are six other women scientists who have been honored by the UN entity.

Tu Youyou, a pharmaceutical chemist whose visionary research on malaria treatment is rooted in ancient Chinese medicine; Kiara Nirghin, winner of 2016 Google Science Fair for creating a super absorbent polymer that can retain over 100 times its mass; Katherine Johnson, a mathematician whose calculations have been essential to U.S. space exploration. Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist whose radioactivity research laid the foundation for modern nuclear science, from X-rays to radiotherapy for treating cancer and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize; Marcia Barbosa, a Brazilian physicist known for her research on the complex structures of the water molecule; and Segenet Kelemu, a molecular plant pathologist whose cutting-edge research is dedicated to helping the world’s smallholder farmers grow more food and rise out of poverty.


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