Maryam Mirzakhani, 1977-2017
July 15, 2017 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, known for her exceptional contributions in dynamics, hyperbolic geometry, and the theory of Riemann surfaces (e.g. this collection of papers and the results here (all pdf)), as well as for being the first woman to win the Fields Medal, often described as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics", has died of cancer, aged 40. One can find her work here.
posted by busted_crayons (65 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by noneuclidean at 6:15 AM on July 15


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I loved the Quanta piece on her when I first read it.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 6:20 AM on July 15


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posted by slater at 6:21 AM on July 15


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posted by runcifex at 6:32 AM on July 15



posted by sammyo at 6:35 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by ChuraChura at 6:36 AM on July 15


Fuck cancer seems like such a cliche, but fuck cancer. This seriously bums me out more than any other the other bad news this week.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:36 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]


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posted by blob at 6:36 AM on July 15


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posted by Proofs and Refutations at 6:39 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by vorpal bunny at 6:42 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by dorque at 6:43 AM on July 15


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posted by adamsc at 6:46 AM on July 15


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posted by sibboleth at 6:57 AM on July 15


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posted by jim in austin at 7:05 AM on July 15


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posted by LobsterMitten at 7:17 AM on July 15


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posted by beaning at 7:21 AM on July 15


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posted by carter at 7:24 AM on July 15


This sucks. I've known her since she was a postdoc. Just a really great mathematician, valued collaborator, a boon to our community. Here she is lecturing at Harvard if you want to get a sense of what her math looks like (I'm afraid there isn't really a good non-technical account of what she works on, and I'm not sure there could be.)
posted by escabeche at 7:25 AM on July 15 [18 favorites]


. + 1/2. + 1/4. ...
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:32 AM on July 15


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:37 AM on July 15


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posted by spinifex23 at 7:38 AM on July 15


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posted by Etrigan at 7:47 AM on July 15


Age 40? Goddamnit.

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posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:58 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


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posted by Pendragon at 7:59 AM on July 15


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posted by mixedmetaphors at 8:08 AM on July 15


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posted by brambleboy at 8:13 AM on July 15


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posted by panic at 8:17 AM on July 15


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posted by Mouse Army at 8:19 AM on July 15


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posted by cendawanita at 8:37 AM on July 15


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Only 40? What a waste. Damn.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:50 AM on July 15


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posted by Dashy at 9:56 AM on July 15


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posted by augustimagination at 10:02 AM on July 15


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posted by agilmore at 10:07 AM on July 15


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escabeche's link URL appears to be missing a terminal Q, and should probably be this; her approach to her material is amazingly forceful, enthusiastic, and vivid.
posted by jamjam at 11:07 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:41 AM on July 15


The first Iranian to win the Fields Medal to boot.
posted by PenDevil at 12:25 PM on July 15


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posted by oceanjesse at 1:02 PM on July 15


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posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 1:59 PM on July 15


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Long may she inspire others.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:05 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


No no no no no no no! There was so much more math for her to do!
posted by tully_monster at 2:20 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]



posted by ZeroDivides at 2:37 PM on July 15




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posted by camyram at 3:10 PM on July 15


40, jesus.

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posted by Justinian at 3:13 PM on July 15


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posted by halonine at 3:51 PM on July 15


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posted by harujion at 3:57 PM on July 15


What's even more bitter is that she never got to test (or break) the conventional wisdom that mathematicians and scientists do their best work before the age of forty.
posted by tully_monster at 4:58 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by eviemath at 5:06 PM on July 15


aw no :( I think Noether also passed away young


posted by icosahedron at 5:50 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by pantufla_milagrosa at 5:51 PM on July 15


tully_monster: for an excellent example of debunking that myth, look at Ib Madsen.
posted by pantufla_milagrosa at 5:52 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


This is a huge loss. I don't know almost anything about mathematics, but have been working for the past year on a project on important women in STEM, and her name and accomplishments came up so often. We tried to get her to participate and were turned down... I had no idea she was sick, though.

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posted by Mchelly at 7:04 PM on July 15


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posted by Diagonalize at 7:14 PM on July 15


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posted by scruss at 7:19 PM on July 15


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posted by skepticallypleased at 7:29 PM on July 15


Perhaps at some point there will be something written about Gen-X -- (theoretically 1961-1981) -- whose numbers are not as high as millenials or baby boomers and for about whom less is written (it seems). But, this gentle-lady and her trailblazing should be a part of it.
posted by skepticallypleased at 7:32 PM on July 15


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This is lousy. There aren't words for how brilliant she was, and her daughter is six years old.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:30 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


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posted by eruonna at 9:01 PM on July 15


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posted by dougfelt at 9:19 PM on July 15


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posted by wheek wheek wheek at 3:15 AM on July 16


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And even in parting, she is shattering ceilings (from the Guardian):

"Her death on Saturday in a hospital in California dominated front pages in Tehran, with a number of newspapers breaking with tradition and publishing photos of her without a head covering – a rare tribute that showed her prominence overrode rules requiring all Iranian women to be covered in public."

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When the Stanford University professor won the Fields medal in 2014, state-run newspapers had digitally retouched her photograph to put a scarf over her head while others published a sketch showing only her face."

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"Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said: “The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heartrending.” Rouhani also retweeted an image of her bare-headed.

In another sign that Mirzakhani was breaking more taboos even after her death, a group of parliamentarians in Iran on Sunday urged the speeding up of an amendment to a law that would allow children of Iranian mothers married to foreigners to be given Iranian nationality.

Mirzakhani is survived by her Czech scientist husband and her daughter but a marriage between an Iranian woman and a non-Muslim man was previously not recognised, complicating visits to Iran by their children.

Fars news agency reported on Sunday that 60 MPs were pressing for the amendments so that Mirzakhani’s daughter could visit Iran."

posted by progosk at 10:01 AM on July 16 [12 favorites]


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posted by Svejk at 10:39 AM on July 16


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