With everything being done to women in some Islamic countries, the announcement that one of this year four winners of the highest distinction in the field of mathematics, the Fields medal, is not only the first woman to win it but also Iranian born should be celebrated first for her realization but also for the symbolic of it!
Details of her work can be found in Scientific American: Iranian Woman Nabs Highest Prize in Mathematics – Scientific American.
There are also two other winners (she is one of four), and when it comes to Iran, I wouldn’t be too optimistic (just came in via RSF RSS feed): http://en.rsf.org/iran-two-photographers-sentenced-to-25-19-08-2014,46816.html
This does not remove any credits to the other three winners. But considering the treatment reserved to women trying to get advanced education in many Islamic countries, I think the symbolic of it is also quite strong. Note that she is currently working in Stanford!
Hmm, I’m not sure about this issue, but I wonder, does *she herself* consider it as a victory for women, or specifically for women in Iran (seem to be more women at university there too)?
I’m also skeptical about generalizing about Islamic countries — I think it’s a bit like generalizing about “Christian” countries (where amount of Christians > 50%).
In any case, it’s always nice to hear positive stories about science (my filter bubble brings me a lot of cases of fraud/plagiarism lately), and the four winners probably did a great job and it’s good when this is valued. 🙂
It’s worthy noting that one of the winners was a Brazilian mathematician. Brazil has never won any kind prize of this magnitude. It’s the first time Brazil win such a prestigious prize.