Maryam Mirzakhani, Prize-Winning Mathemetician, Dies At 40

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Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the Fields Medal for mathematics, has died, according to the BBC. "It breaks my heart. gone far too soon", her friend, NASA scientist Firouz Naderi, posted on Instagram. Her death was confirmed Saturday by Stanford University, where Mirzakhani had been a professor since 2008.

The 40-year-old reportedly had breast cancer that spread to her bones.

In 2016, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, adding her to the ranks of Einstein, Oppenheimer and Edison. The distinguished prize, often nicknamed as the "Nobel Prize for Mathematics", is only awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under 40.

"It is fun - it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case", she said when she won the Fields Medal.

The two times gold medal victor in the International Mathematical Olympiad received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran's Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and earned a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004.

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A year later, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a flawless score and win two gold medals at the Olympiad.

She is survived by her husband Jan Vondrák and their daughter Anahita.

She then earned her bachelor's degree from Iran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology in 1999, and followed up the rest of her education in the United States, where she earned a doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2004 and became full professor of mathematics at Stanford at the age of 31.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid tribute to her.

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