Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the most prestigious prize in math, has passed away at the age of 40.

In 2014, Maryam won the Fields Medal, which is referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics”. She was the first woman and the first Iranian to win the medal. She passed away from breast cancer, after fighting it for four years.

Here are a few things to know about the math genius: 

She was born in Tehran and attended graduate school at Harvard. She was the first girl to be part of Iran’s International Mathematical Olympiad.

She became a professor of math at Stanford University in 2008, where she served till her death. Before this, she was an assistant professor at Princeton University.

She specialised in theoretical mathematics, which reads like “a foreign language by those outside of mathematics”, said the Stanford press announcement.

Her work had implications in fields ranging from cryptography to “the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist”, the university said.

She had originally dreamt of becoming a writer, before switching to mathematics. Her daughter described her work as painting, since she used to always doodle on sheets of paper, and write formulas on her drawings.

Condolences for her death are pouring in from all over the world. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani’s passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists.”

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Picture Credit:  Stanford University