## A Conversation for Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

### Peer Review: A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

SashaQ - happysad - Editor Started conversation May 12, 2018

Entry: Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician - A87909835

Author: SashaQ - happysad - Editor - U9936370

Here is an Entry about an inspirational mathematician.

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

Florida Sailor Back From Havana, Cuba Posted May 13, 2018

Very interesting

Just a couple questions or comments;

Could you add a footnote for 'pure mathematics'? I have been bound by practical mathematics all my life. I am sure this could be a great Guide Entry on its own, I would like to see a sentence or two here for a definition.

I would also like to see a bit more about her death, one of the things that made me want to read your Entry was to find out why she had passed at such a young age. Although breast cancer is a terrible disease it is seldom fatal in the 21st century USA. Is there a little more to the story, such as a late diagnosis?

Well done, thank you for sharing her story

F S

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

SashaQ - happysad - Editor Posted May 14, 2018

Thanks for reading FS

I put 'Pure Mathematics' in inverted commas as it is part of the name of the prize Maryam received. I can't define pure maths vs applied maths myself as it is a bit of an artificial distinction these days when all research has to have applications... I hope that helps, anyway

I investigated further about her illness - seems it was just too aggressive and didn't respond well enough to treatment so she succumbed...

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

Gnomon - time to move on Posted May 17, 2018

This is an interesting entry, SashaQ.

The only part of it I didn't understand was your attempt to explain what a hyperbolic surface is. I couldn't see how two doughnuts would have negative curvature. Isn't negative curvature what you get at the centre of a 'saddle'? But I can't see how a surface would have constant negative curvature at every point.

In the Collatz Conjecture entry, I put this about the distinction between pure and applied maths:

Pure vs Applied Mathematics

The 3n+1 conjecture is an example of pure mathematics. It has no known application. There may well be an application out there waiting to be discovered but that is not the reason mathematicians pursue such problems. In the words of one Researcher:

Some very interesting and useful mathematics can often be invented (or is it discovered?) while working on 'useless' problems. Of course, that's not the motivation for those who dedicate years of their lives to proving such conjectures, as I have. We know that we are looking directly at faces of the mind of God that man has never seen before, and that's enough to justify our lives, and hopefully to keep us away from the bottle for a while...

The Researcher who said those words was GTBacchus.

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

SashaQ - happysad - Editor Posted May 17, 2018

Thanks for reading Gnomon

Good point about the hyperbolic surface section - I got taken in by the picture of a doughnut with two holes appearing to illustrate two different concepts at the same time...

I have rephrased it and included an appropriate example - I hope that helps.

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

Gnomon - time to move on Posted May 18, 2018

Your coral example is good, but you'd be better linking to one of the pages within that site that specifically talks about hyperbolic surfaces:

http://crochetcoralreef.org/about/hyperbolic_space.php

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

Gnomon - time to move on Posted Jul 3, 2018

Maryam Mirzakhani

I like this entry.

Here are a few ways I think you could improve it.

Although only boys had previously entered the competition from Iran -- this sounds a bit clumsy, but attempts to reword it may sound equally clumsy or contrived. How about:

Although previous competition entrants from Iran had all been boys

Should you refer to this woman as Maryam or as Mirzakhani? What's the House Rule or standard? I know that 'New Scientist' magazine has a rule that the first time a person is mentioned, they will give the full title "The Right Honorable Lady June Smith" but every time after that she is just referred to as "Smith". By this rule they would refer to the Queen of the United Kingdom as "Windsor" if she ever published a scientific article.

The powers of her imagination -->

The power of her imagination

The paragraph starting "Maryam had published..." has some simple explanations of mathematical concepts. I'd love to see these expanded slightly so that some readers might grasp the concepts better. I'd make the following changes, but it is entirely up to you what level of detail you shoud provide.

While a sphere (such as a snooker ball) is a surface with positive curvature, a hyperbolic surface (such as coral) has negative curvature.

-->

A sphere such as a snooker ball is a surface with positive curvature. Standing on a sphere you will see it curving away from you in every direction. A horse saddle, on the other hand, has negative curvature at the centre. An intelligent ant standing on the middle of the saddle would see it curving away from her at the sides but towards her at the front and back. A hyperbolic surface (such as coral) has negative curvature at every point on the surface.

I don't know if that makes it any clearer.

Geodesics are curves drawn on the surfaces that are analogous to straight lines drawn on a flat piece of paper.

-->

Geodesics are curves drawn on the surfaces that are analogous to straight lines drawn on a flat piece of paper: they are the shortest routes between two points.

This was useful to her, so she could avoid -->

This was useful to her, as she could avoid

will cover every point on the table or not

to light up the whole room or not

-- I don't think you need "or not" in either of these

Your final quotation in italics is good. Did Maryam say it?

G

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

SashaQ - happysad - Editor Posted Jul 3, 2018

Thanks for reading this again, Gnomon

I tweaked the sentences that needed tweaking

I see when I wrote about Sofia Kovalevskaya I referred to her often as Sofia rather than Kovalevskaya as the Entry is about her life as well as her work - there can be a risk of 'masculine by default' assumptions when it comes to surnames on their own...

I delved into curvature and decided it was a bit of a red herring in relation to a visual definition (if you were standing on the sphere but on the inside, then you wouldn't see it as curving away, and the crinkles in an embedding of a hyperbolic surface in 3 dimensions make 'towards' and 'away' confusing, too) so I've rephrased in terms of Euclidean Geometry as we have a link for that - I hope that's better...

I've updated the quote to include the details of when Maryam said it

### A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

Gnomon - time to move on Posted Jul 4, 2018

Looks good

### Congratulations - Your Entry has been Recommended for the Edited Guide!

h2g2 auto-messages Posted Jul 27, 2018

Your Guide Entry has just been picked from Peer Review by one of our Scouts, and is now heading off into the Editorial Process, which ends with publication in the Edited Guide. We've moved this Review Conversation out of Peer Review and to the entry itself.

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### Congratulations - Your Entry has been Recommended for the Edited Guide!

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor Posted Jul 28, 2018

Congratulations!

### Congratulations - Your Entry has been Recommended for the Edited Guide!

Gnomon - time to move on Posted Jul 29, 2018

### Congratulations - Your Entry has been Recommended for the Edited Guide!

SashaQ - happysad - Editor Posted Jul 30, 2018

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### Peer Review: A87909835 - Maryam Mirzakhani - Mathematician

- 1: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (May 12, 2018)
- 2: Florida Sailor Back From Havana, Cuba (May 13, 2018)
- 3: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (May 14, 2018)
- 4: Gnomon - time to move on (May 17, 2018)
- 5: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (May 17, 2018)
- 6: Gnomon - time to move on (May 18, 2018)
- 7: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (May 18, 2018)
- 8: Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor (Jul 3, 2018)
- 9: Gnomon - time to move on (Jul 3, 2018)
- 10: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (Jul 3, 2018)
- 11: Gnomon - time to move on (Jul 4, 2018)
- 12: h2g2 auto-messages (Jul 27, 2018)
- 13: Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor (Jul 28, 2018)
- 14: Gnomon - time to move on (Jul 29, 2018)
- 15: SashaQ - happysad - Editor (Jul 30, 2018)

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