The School of Humanities and Sciences has received an $800,000 gift from engineers and entrepreneurs Rouzbeh Yassini-Fard and Anousheh Ansari to establish the fellowship.
According to a Farsi report by ISNA, The Maryam Mirzakhani Graduate Fellowship will support graduate students in the Department of Mathematics.
Yassini and Ansari said that Mirzakhani was an inspiration to them and an embodiment of the contributions that the Iranian community has made globally throughout history across the humanities, arts and sciences.
Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her research topics included Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.
In 2014, she was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. Thus, she became both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award.
Mirzakhani was born on 3 May 1977 in Tehran, Iran. She attended Tehran Farzanegan School there, part of the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents. In 1994, she achieved the gold medal level in the International Mathematical Olympiad, the first female Iranian student to do so. In the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad, she became the first Iranian student to achieve a perfect score and to win two gold medals.
She obtained her BSc in mathematics in 1999 from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She then went to the United States for graduate work, earning her PhD in 2004 from Harvard University.
On 14 July 2017, Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40.