American Philosophical Society
Member History

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1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences[X]
104. Mathematics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani
 Year Elected:  2015
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  104. Mathematics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1977
 Death Date:  July 15, 2017
Maryam Mirzakhani was the first female recipient of the Fields Medal, the leading international prize for mathematical research that must be awarded by the age of 40. To earn this distinction she had made outstanding contributions to understanding the dynamics and geometry of two-dimensional surfaces (known as Riemann surfaces) and their deformation (or moduli) spaces. She extended and integrated insights developed by other mathematical pioneers such as Thurston, Ratner, Margulis, and Bers in a wide variety of fields including algebraic geometry, topology and probability theory. Her work probed the structure of these moduli spaces by studying the behavior of simple geodesics, which are curves on the surface with no self-intersections that minimize the distance between any two points lying sufficiently close to each other on the curve. Mirzakhani and her coworkers produced the long sought-after proof of the conjecture that while the closure of a real geodesic in moduli space can be fractal the closure of a complex geodesic is always well-behaved, indeed an algebraic subvariety. Born in Iran, Mirzakhani completed a bachelor's degree at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and completed her doctorate at Harvard University. She was a professor at Princeton University before moving to Stanford University in 2008. Dr. Mirzakhani died July 15, 2017, at the age of 40.
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