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Event to mark first woman winning ‘Nobel of mathematics’

Event to mark first woman winning ‘Nobel of mathematics’

For the first time in its forty-year history the greatest prize in mathematics has been awarded to a woman and the University of Auckland is holding an event to celebrate.

For the first time in its forty-year history the greatest prize in mathematics has been awarded to a woman and the University of Auckland is holding an event to celebrate.

Stanford University Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, 37, has been awarded the Fields Medal for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces and her original contributions in the fields of geometry and dynamical systems.

University of Auckland Distinguished Professor Marston Conder says: “Maryam Mirzakhani has wonderful insights, across a wide range of fields, and she has amazed the mathematical community with unexpected answers to some long-standing major questions.”

It is also the first time in its almost 80-year history that the prize known as the ‘Nobel of mathematics’ has been won by an Iranian. The Medal is only awarded to mathematicians under the age of 40.

“This year’s awardees are the most diverse yet, continuing a recent encouraging trend that experts predict will only accelerate”, says senior lecturer in Engineering Science Dr Golbon Zakeri.

Speakers at the Excellence in Mathematical Sciences: A Celebration of Diversity event include Professor Hinke Osinga, the first woman appointed a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Auckland; Professor Gill Dobbie who will speak on big data, the hype versus reality; Professor Rosemary Bailey from the University of St Andrews discussing design and analysis of experiments testing for biodiversity in ecology; Distinguished Professor Marston Conder talking about the life and work of Professor Maryam Mirzakhani; Professor Tava Olsen from the University of Auckland Business School on Quantitative Models for Operations Management; Associate Professor Cather Simpson on Laser micromachining, spectroscopy and sperm sorting.

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