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In Memoriam

Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani

18/07/2017 - Trieste

It is with great sadness the ICTP received the news of Maryam Mirzakhani's passing on 14 July 2017. The incredibly talented mathematician was the first woman to win the Fields Medal, an award known as the Nobel Prize for mathematics. She was 40.

Mirzakhani grew up in Tehran, Iran, and was the first woman on Iran's International Mathematical Olympiad team, with which she won multiple gold medals. She was a visiting mathematician and conference attendee at ICTP right before moving to Harvard to complete her PhD in 1999, and from there her career took off. She was a professor at Princeton before moving to a professorship at Stanford in 2008.

In 2014, Mirzakhani was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious prize in mathematics, becoming the first woman and the first Iranian to win the award. She was cited for her work in "the dynamics of geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces," and her research subjects covered hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.

Mirzakhani was due to visit ICTP again as a conference organizer in 2016, but canceled at the last minute. ICTP will greatly miss the opportunity to have her visit again, and mourns the passing of such a pioneering mathematician.