AIC Statement on the Death of Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani

The American Iranian Council joins the world community in mourning the loss of Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, the award-winning mathematician, professor at Stanford, and Tehran-native, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 40 after a four-year battle with breast cancer. AIC extends its condolences to her husband, daughter, extended family and colleagues.
AIC also celebrates Dr. Mirzakhani’s many contributions to mathematics and women’s equality. A pioneer in her field, Mirzakhani specialized in the geometric properties of curved surfaces and became the first and only woman, as well as the first Iranian, to receive the Fields Medal, often called “the mathematician’s Nobel Prize.”  Upon her passing, President Rouhani reflected that Mirzakhani “made Iran’s name resonate in the world’s scientific forums,” and that her work “was a turning point in showing the great will of Iranian women and young people on the path towards reaching the peaks of glory.”   
After the completion of her bachelor’s degree at Sharif University of Technology in Iran in 1999, Dr. Mirzakhani moved to the United States to attend Harvard University as a graduate student and earned her PhD in 2004.  She joined Princeton as a professor before moving to Stanford University in 2008 where she was a full professor. Throughout her career, she made several notable contributions to complex mathematic theories. Dr. Amirahmadi, President of the American Iranian Council, says, “Professor Mirzakhani was a shining star in mathematics and will be remembered for her vision and breakthroughs in making math venture into irregular geometric shapes.”
Dr. Mirzakhani demonstrated the extraordinary skill and limitless talent individuals can bring to math and science regardless of their gender, nationality or politics.  Even after her passing, she has continued to be a symbol of innovation and social change: Iranian newspapers have broken strict dress-code rules by publishing obituaries with photos of her not wearing a hijab.  On Sunday, the Iranian Parliament discussed amending a law regarding the nationality of children born to Iranian mothers and foreign spouses outside the country, so that Dr. Mirzakhani’s half-Iranian daughter could more easily visit Iran.