The first woman to win a Fields Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani, has died at the age of forty from breast cancer.

“She had a sort of daring imagination,” [said her Harvard mentor.] … “She would formulate in her mind an imaginary picture of what must be going on, then come to my office and describe it. At the end, she would turn to me and say, ‘Is it right?’ I was always very flattered that she thought I would know.”

Just before she became ill, she talked about her “big plans for the next chapters of her mathematical story. She has started working … to try to develop a complete list of the kinds of sets that translation surface orbits can fill up.”

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