Dignitaries grieve death of math genius Maryam Mirzakhani

July 15, 2017 - 17:52

TEHRAN — Senior scientific and political figures have expressed condolences on the sad demise of Maryam Mirzakhani, the genius Iranian mathematician who died of breast cancer on Saturday.

Mirzakhani, 40, was the first woman in the world and the first Iranian to be awarded the prestigious Fields Medal.

She fought with cancer for four years and was hospitalized lately at a hospital in the U.S. as the cancer had spread to her bone marrow.

“The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heartrending,” said President Hassan Rouhani in a message.

“The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani’s passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on his Instagram account.

“I do offer my heartfelt condolences upon the passing of this lady scientist to all Iranians worldwide, her grieving family and the scientific community,” Zarif added.

 “Sad to learn about the passing of Maryam Mirzakhani - the intelligent Iranian daughter, wife, mother, professor. May her eternal soul RIP,” Gary Lewis, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, wrote on his twitter account.

Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT-educated nuclear physicist who currently leads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also said, “I offer my condolences over the untimely and heartbreaking demise of her to Iranians, her family, and all scientists worldwide.”

Light turns off

“A light was turned off today, it breaks my heart…. Gone far too soon,” Iranian-American NASA scientist Firouz Naderi posted on his Instagram. Later he twitted: “A genius? Yes. But also a daughter, a mother and a wife.”

The two times gold medal winner in the International Mathematical Olympiad, Mirzakhani received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and earned a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004 and became full professor of mathematics at Stanford at the age of 31.

Her honors also include the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.

She is survived by husband Jan Vondrák, a Czech theoretical computer scientist, and their 6-year-old daughter Anahita.