Unfinished Work


I am profoundly sad that Maryam Mirzakhani has passed away at the age of 40 of breast cancer.  You can read about her here.  I wrote about her here in 2014.

She was not only a brilliant mathematician and the first woman to win the Fields Medal. But she was also the mother of Anahita and the spouse of Jan.  Anahita is only 6 or 7 years old.

Dr. Mirzakhani’s unfinished work in mathematics is something I will never comprehend. But her unfinished work as a mother knocks the wind out of me.  I know something about that.  My mother had not finished parenting us when she died at the age of 55. And – sitting here alive and well – I haven’t finished parenting my own grown children.  It’s never finished.  And then – whether we like it or not – it is.

On this lovely Monday in July, when the newspapers in Iran cherished their own Maryam Mirzakhani enough to allow some photos of her with an unveiled head, I continue to trust that life can flourish even after genius . . . or your mother . . . dies.

Image source here.  In thanksgiving today for the motherless genius AAM as she begins a new path herself.

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