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FROM WINNING WORLD MATH OLYMPIAD TO RANKING AMONG BRILLIANT MINDS

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Iranian researcher Maryam Mirzakhani, along with nine other senior researchers, has been honored in Popular Science's fourth annual "Brilliant 10" feature.

USA Today reported that the list recognizes young minds who have pushed their fields in innovative directions but remain virtually unknown to the public.

The final 10 were selected based on recommendations from award-dispensing organizations, university department heads and editors of scientific publications.

From computer graphics and math to biophysics and robotics, these scientists from research institutions throughout North America have broken ground while testing the boundaries of the known universe and Maryam Mirzakhani, 29, is one of them.

In 1999, Mirzakhani found a solution to a major mathematical problem. Mathematicians have long struggled to find a practical way to calculate the volume of possible variants of hyperbolic geometric forms. Iranian-born Mirzakhani of Princeton University showed that mathematics may be her best language by making headway toward a solution: calculating the length of loops drawn on hyperbolic surfaces.

James Carlson from Clay Mathematics Institute has noted that Mirzakhani is excellent in finding new connections and she can easily come up with a profound theory through a simple example.

She has won international recognition after receiving gold medals both in International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong 1994) and International Mathematical Olympiad (Canada 1995) with a perfect score.

Mirzakhani obtained her B.Sc. in Mathematics (1999) from the Sharif University of Technology and is a survivor of the tragic accident during which a bus carrying mathematical elite of Sharif University of Technology skidded off the road and crashed into a ravine in March 1998.

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