As a homage to the legacy of the late Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation has launched an award named after her to honour outstanding women in the field of mathematics.

The $50,000 Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, which may be shared by two or more individuals, will be presented to early-career, women mathematicians who have completed their PhDs in the past two years.

In her short life of 40 years, the noted Iranian mathematician, Fields Medalist and Stanford professor, made groundbreaking contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces. Moduli spaces are the geometric solution to the problem of classification of compact Riemann surfaces and can be thought of as the “higher theory” of Riemann surfaces.

The moduli spaces are “mean- ingful spaces,” in that each of their points stands for a Riemann surface. ”We hope that the Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize will help inspire young women to pursue their calling for mathematics,” said Richard Taylor, chair, selection committee for the Prize. ”Recognizing some of the many aspiring women in mathematics is a fitting tribute to the beautiful intellect of Dr Mirzakhani.” Mirzakhani died in 2017 due to breast cancer.

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