Now to celebrate a rather sunny Wednesday afternoon and of course International Women’s week with a truly inspirational mathematical genius – Maryam Mirzakhani. Professor Mirzakhani was recommended by our Mathematics convener Laura Suttie, as she recently became the first woman to win one of the most prestigious prizes in Mathematics, the Fields Medal. This medal is awarded to younger individuals who have shown outstanding contributions to the field of Mathematics.
In an interview at Clay Mathematics Institute, Professor Mirzakhani explains: “I did poorly in math for a couple of years in middle school; I was just not interested in thinking about it. I can see that without being excited mathematics can look pointless and cold. The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers.”
Professor Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977. She started off dreaming of being a novelist, but her interest in Mathematics grew when she attended Math Olympiads in high school. In 1994, she was the first female Iranian to win a gold medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad. Ultimately, her inspiration came from her time at Sharif University of Technology, where she met like minded mathematicians. During her interview with Clay Mathematics Institute, she says that during the time completing her BSc “The more I spent time on mathematics, the more excited I became”. She then completed her PhD at Harvard University, and contributed to the theory of moduli spaces Riemann Surfaces. She now serves as a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University. These are only a selected few of her many achievements and contributions in Mathematics, and we are very sure there are more to come! Happy International Women’s week 2016!