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Award-winning Stanford math professor dies

Award-winning Stanford math professor dies

"A light was turned off today". Later he twitted: A genius? Yes. "But also a daughter, a mother and a wife".

The 40-year-old reportedly had breast cancer that spread to her bones.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (L) giving the prize to Maryam Mirzakhani (R), a Harvard educated mathematician and professor at Stanford University in California, at the awards ceremony for the Fields Medals during the International Congress of Mathematicians 2014 in Seoul. Her honors include the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.

And then, in 2014, she received the highest honor in mathematics: 80 years after the award was established, Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal.

"Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science", Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement.

She graduated from Sharif University in Tehran in 1999 and earned a Ph.D.at Harvard University in 2004.

In short, Mirzakhani was fascinated by the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces - spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas.

In another interview, she said of her process: "I don't have any particular recipe [for developing new proofs] ..."

At the time she was praised for the "stunning advances" she had made in some of the most complicated areas of the mathematics.

In 1994, she won the gold medal in the Iranian International Mathematical Olympiad at age 17.

"It's like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out", she added.

Friend Firouz Naderi announced Mirzakhani's death on Saturday on Instagram and relatives subsequently confirmed her death to the Mehr agency in Iran.

A year later, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a flawless score and win two gold medals at the Olympiad.

As a professor and scholar, Mirzakhani's pictures helped her write stories with her math.