First woman wins maths 'Nobel' prize

Seoul - Iranian-born mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani on Wednesday became the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics' equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

The professor at Stanford University in California was among four Fields Medal recipients at the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Seoul, and the first female among the 56 winners since the prize was established in 1936.

"This is a great honour. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians", Mirzakhani was quoted as saying on Stanford's website.

"I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years", she said.

Mirzakhani, aged 37, was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University. She said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, but she pursued her enthusiasm for solving mathematical problems.

"It is fun, it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case. I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path", she said.

Mirzakhani was recognised for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, according to the Stanford site.

The prizes are awarded every four years.

Wednesday's prizes were presented by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the first woman to hold that post.

- Reuters
Read more on: south korea us iran research
Will Homeby 2014-08-13 08:14:52 AM
Well done! Lets hope you inspire more women to enter the field of mathematics and sciences
Gregory Senftleben 2014-08-13 08:18:42 AM
Iranian women....hmmm....she would be decapitated for being more clever than men under Sharia law
Will Homeby 2014-08-13 10:49:41 AM
Greg is nothing more than a half witted moron. He suffers from what I call white man syndrome. He attributes a crime to a specific race and then tarnishes the entire race based on the crime. However, he refuses to do the same when it comes to his own race. Nothing more than a hopeless coward.