Monday, August 25, 2014
The Fields Medal is frequently called the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics, and since it was first awarded in 1936, 16 of the 28 honorees affiliated with United States institutions were foreign-born, including two of the medals awarded last week. But before last week, a woman had never won the honor. Maryan Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born Stanford University professor, became the first female winner of the Fields Medal in its 78-year history.
Mirzakhani won gold medals in two consecutive International Mathematics Olympiads before coming to the United States to earn her doctorate at Harvard University. Immigrants, like Mirzakhani contribute significantly to the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics fields and distinguish themselves in the fields of scientific research year after year.