Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win Fields Medal in mathematics, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born mathematician who in 2014 became the first woman awarded the Fields Medal, often called the most prestigious prize in mathematics, died July 15. She was 40.

Stanford University, where she had been a professor since 2008, announced her death but did not say where she died. The cause was breast cancer.

Another academic collaborator, University of Chicago mathematician Alex Eskin, described her contributions as “the kind of mathematics you immediately recognize belongs in a textbook.”

.. She is the only woman to have received the medal, named for Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields

.. She did say that she became interested in mathematics after her older brother told her about a shorthand way to add all the numbers from 1 to 100. The trick, devised in the 18th century by Carl Friedrich Gauss, is to add the outermost pairs of numbers: 1 plus 100, 2 plus 99, 3 plus 98, and so on. Each time, the sum is 101. There are 50 pairs of numbers. Multiplying 50 by 101 yields the answer: 5,050.