First Female Fields Medal Winner

Maryam Mirzakhani is the first women to win the Fields Medal in the award's long history. Since 1936, the Fields Medal has been awarded every 4 years to 2-4 of the top mathematicians under 40 for outstanding work in mathematics.

Professor Mirzakhani (37) grew up in Iran and completed a bachelors degree in Math form Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, going on to obtain her PhD from Harvard. She is now a professor in Stanford's math department.

Professor Mirzakhani's was awarded the Fields Medal for her work on "dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces", which according to Ben Mathis-Lilley over at Slate:

roughly means that she considers abstract questions related to non-Euclidean entities such as, for example, the surface of a pretzel.

[image via wikipedia]