“A light was turned off today,” NASA scientist Firouz Naderi posted on Instagram today after the death of Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman as well as being the first Iranian to receive the prestigious Fields Medal for mathematics. She died after a battle with breast cancer earlier today.
Born in 1977, she was, and still is, an inspiration to girls that are aspiring mathematicians around the world. In both 1994 and 1995, she earned gold medals in the International Mathematics Olympiad, and she earned a PhD from Harvard in ’04. She was a professor at Stanford University. In 2014, she received the Fields Medal, the high achievement in mathematics, for her contributions to the discipline.
Even though she is now gone, Maryam will continue to inspire young girls for years to come. Her genius transcended discrimination, and it is a path that many new mathematicians of any gender or nationality can now follow in.