Maryam Mirzakhani, the math genius from Iran, was born on May 3, 1977. She became the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics, aka the Nobel Prize of math. The International Mathematical Union chose to give the honor to Mirzakhani after she discovered new advances in the theory of Riemann surface. The organisation gives out awards every four years to some of the best mathematicians under the age of 40.
The low representation of women in STEM academic faculty and leadership roles are still not known as studies show no biological differences that would explain it happening. According to the National Academy of Sciences, being the first female to win this prestigious award, people are considering this as the first sign of many changes for the future.
Mirzakhani began to make a name for herself internationally in 1994 and 1995 when she competed in the International Mathematical Olympiads
She won gold at the International Mathematical Olympiad. It is the world's most honored math tournament for pre-college students
She got her undergraduate degree at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran
Mirzakhani later went-off to Harvard University to get her PhD with her thesis on the geometry of moduli space
She now works as a professor of mathematics at Stanford
Her studies have potentially innovated different areas of subjects and topics like mechanical engineering and material science
She continues her work on similar topics, including hyperbolic geometry, topology, and both the dynamics and the geometry of Riemann surfaces
She's known for doodling on giant sheets of paper when working on math problems.
Mirzakhani motivates girls to follow their dreams:
In an interview to Stanford News she said, "This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians. I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years. I think it's rarely about what you actually learn in class... it's mostly about things that you stay motivated to go and continue to do on your own."