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First woman wins top math prize, Fields Medal in mathematics

Highest Math Honor Is Awarded To A Woman For The First Time

(Reuters) - Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani on Wednesday became the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics' equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

The professor at Stanford University in California was among four Fields Medal recipients at the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Seoul, and the first female among the 56 winners since the prize was established in 1936.

"This is a great honor. 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," she said.

Mirzakhani, 37, was born in Tehran 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 she pursued her enthusiasm for solving mathematical problems.

"It is fun – it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case. I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path," she said.

Mirzakhani was recognized for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, according to the Stanford site.

The prizes are awarded every four years. Wednesday's prizes were presented by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the first woman to hold that post.

The other three Fields Medal winners on Wednesday were Artur Avila of the National Center for Scientific Research in France and Brazil's National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics; Manjul Bhargava of Princeton University and Martin Hairer of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

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ectullis August 13 2014 at 10:10 AM

Yet another foreigner taking a job that should have went to a citizen

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10 replies
steel_nuts August 13 2014 at 11:04 PM

Take the rag off your head

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1 reply
ga7smi steel_nuts August 14 2014 at 12:04 AM

take of your crosses and mogan davidii's

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Ralph Seda August 13 2014 at 11:00 AM

Sheesh!!..Math!!..My very worst school subject!!..I still have to use all my toes and fingers for advanced math problems!!...

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espana66 August 13 2014 at 12:13 PM

sure anywhere in the world the children are more advanced than any American child here. As long as they pass there yearly test that is all they are interested in, No one is taught outside of what they are suppose to, to pass that test!!!

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1 reply
belldon10 espana66 August 13 2014 at 4:02 PM

You obviously didn't pass the English test. It's their yearly test, not there yearly test.

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moooooooooochelle August 13 2014 at 12:20 PM


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lucidup August 13 2014 at 10:16 PM

Liked it alot Ms. Maria Klawe, on the other hand S.Matthew Laio, things sound a bit morbid... I can understand helping those with becoming extremely tall But! personally... that still would have to be a last re- sort... and exceptable by the party and not forced onto them.

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divamarlene70 August 13 2014 at 7:52 PM

At the same conference, Stan Osher (UCLA faculty) won the Gauss Prize for Applied Math. His bio is here: http://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/IMU/Prizes/2014/news_release_osher.pdf Pretty incredible . . . All of the winners at ICM are amazing!

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msdot10993 August 13 2014 at 6:17 PM

so what who cares....work on cancer or eboli illness

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BlackDeep August 13 2014 at 6:13 PM

The government has been hiring women to do monster calculations for years. It was a group of women who finalized and checked the calculations for the moon landings. It is about time that they are recognized for their contributions. They have been ripped off in the scientific community often enough when it come to being recognized.

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Dan P August 13 2014 at 3:12 PM

I'm sure I could have beat her out!

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