Stanford professor of mathematics Maryam Mirzakhani has been awarded the 2014 Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics.
She is the first woman to win the prize, and the first Stanford recipient since Paul Cohen in 1966.
Mirzakhani was presented with the prize, known officially as the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, by the International Mathematical Union today at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea.
She is being honored for her contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems, in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces like spheres, doughnuts and hyperbolic objects.
Her work is theoretical but has implications for physics and quantum field theory. It also has secondary applications to engineering and material science, and the study of prime numbers and cryptography.
Mirzakhani was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She received her Bachelors degree from Sharif University of Technology in 1999, and her doctorate from Harvard University in 2004.
From 2004 to 2008, she was the Clay Mathematics Institute Research Fellow and assistant professor at Princeton University before becoming a professor of mathematics at Stanford University in 2008.