Maryam Mirzakhani made mathematics history on August 13, 2014 when she became both the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. She is an Iranian-American mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her sophisticated and highly original research contributions include Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry. She focused on understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, such as spheres, the surfaces of doughnuts and of hyperbolic objects.
She was the first woman to win the world's most prestigious mathematics prize for the first time since the award was established nearly 80 years ago. Her work has the potential to influence many areas of study, including material science, engineering, quantum field theory, and even theoretical physics as it applies to the origin of the Universe.
Of her award she said, "This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians. I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years.”