Maryam Mirzakhani wins the Fields Medal, becoming the first woman to be awarded the highest honour in mathematics.
The professor at Stanford University in California was among four recipients honoured with the Fields Medal – mathematics’ equivalent to the Nobel Prize – at the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Seoul, South Korea, and the first female among the 56 winners since the prize was established in 1936.
“This is a great honour. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians,” Mirzakhani was quoted as saying on Stanford’s website. “I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years.”
Mirzakhani, 37, was born in Tehran, Iran, and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University. She said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, but chose instead to pursue her enthusiasm for solving mathematical problems.