In 2014, I became both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics.... recognizing my work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, which is based on related research involving Teichmüller theory (a mouthful!), hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.....explore on-line what all those things mean).
Born in in Tehran, Iran, my first memory of mathematics is probably when someone told to add the numbers from 1 to 100...then shared Gauss' creative solution...which was "quite fascinating for me. That was the first time I enjoyed a beautiful solution..."
I went to high school in Tehran at Farzanegan, National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET), where I competed internationally in math contests....being both awarded two gold medals at International Mathematical Olympiads and the first Iranian student to gain a perfect score.
I received a BSc in mathematics from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, then a PhD from Harvard University working under former Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen.
After a research fellowship at the Clay Mathematics Institute and a a short stint as a professor at Princeton University, I am now a mathematician at Stanford University.
The most rewarding part of doing mathematics is "the 'Aha' moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new – the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight."
Maryam Mirzakhani (1977 - )