Five Reasons Why People are Talking about Maryam Mirzakhani

Why the Iranian scientist is suddenly in the news again

Credit: Stanford University

Maryam Mirzakhani was trending on Facebook today for no discernible reason. She hasn’t said anything new or controversial; neither has she recently been bestowed any honour. The last time she was in the public eye was in 2014, when she won the Fields Medal — the highest prize in Mathematics. Bayside Journal tells you why she is in the news once again:

First Woman to Receive the Fields Medal

She is the first woman to receive the ‘Nobel Prize of Mathematics’ for advances in the theory of Riemann surface and her work in the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces.

She is the First Stanfordian to Win the Honour Since 1966

The last Stanford recipient was Paul Cohen in 1966.

She’s Iranian

America has shared a tense relationship with Iran over the last three decades and recently put the country “on notice” for the alleged violation of a UN Security Council Resolution.

A Muslim Ban May Not Have Given Her the Opportunity to Win the Medal

After an undergraduate degree at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, she flew to Harvard University to get her PhD on the geometry of moduli space. She is now a professor of mathematics at Stanford.

This Ban Will Affect the Entire Scientific Community

The ban on persons from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has left many students’ plans in limbo. Around 17,000 students from the aforementioned countries studied at American colleges last year with 12,000 of those were from Iran. A few Iranian scientists have recently spoken out against the ban and worry that their research and lives will be severely affected.