Celebrated Stanford mathematician dies at 40

Stanford mathematics professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the Fields Medal, mathematics’ leading award, has died of cancer at the age of 40, Stanford News Service said.

Mirzakhani, who worked as a math professor at Stanford from 2008 until her death, won the Fields Medal in 2014, according to the university.

She specialized in theoretical mathematics.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement:

“Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science.”

Describing Mirzakhani as a brilliant mathematical theorist, Tessier-Lavigne added:

“Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring, and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world.”

After earning a doctorate at Harvard, Mirzakhani accepted a position as assistant professor at Princeton University and as a research fellow at the Clay Mathematics Institute before joining the Stanford faculty, the university said.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and a daughter, Anahita, the university said.