Maryam Mirzakhani Wins Nobel Prize for Math and Being Awesome
Okay, she may not have officially won a prize for being awesome, but we'd present her one of those without a sliver of hesitation. Yesterday, Mirzakhani became the first woman in history to receive the Fields Prize, which is commonly referred to among us mere mortals as the "Nobel Prize for Math." The superhuman Stanford University professor was awarded for her contributions that deal with curved surfaces, including hyperbolic objects and spheres. As frequent riders of the struggle-bus in 10th grade Algebra 2, we couldn't even begin to understand the technical aspects of Mirzakhani's research. But what we do know is that it has significant implications for the future of everything from cosmology to cryptography, to even figuring out how the universe came to exist. If that doesn't sound important, then we don't know what does.
But despite receiving the highest honor in the world of mathematics (thus being a total badass by default), she remains one of the most humble mathematicians we have ever seen interviewed. When she got the news that she would be awarded with this prize, she thought the account from which the email was sent had gotten hacked. "To be honest, I don't think I've had a very huge contribution," she told Quanta Magazine. Yeah, okay Maryam; you just discovered something that could tell us how the universe came to be, but it's whatever, right? WRONG, REALLY WRONG. IT'S AWESOME. YOU'RE AWESOME.
The coolest thing about her? Ever since she was little she ravenously devoured every book she could get her hands on and swore that when she grew up she would be a fiction writer. Talk about a career change! But hey, who says bookworms can't be math geniuses on the side?
How cool is Maryam Mirzakhani?