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It will go down in history as the moment one of the last bastions of male dominance fell. A woman has won the world's most prestigious mathematics prize for the first time since the award was established nearly 80 years ago. Maryam Mirzakhanian Iranian maths professor at Stanford University in California, was named the first female winner of the Fields Medal — often described as the Nobel prize for mathematics — Professor manjul bhargava wife sexual dysfunction a ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday.

The maths community has been abuzz with rumours for months that Mirzakhani was in line to win the prize. To outsiders her work is esoteric, abstract and impenetrable.

But to more qualified minds, she has a breathtaking scope, is technically superb and boldly ambitious. She describes the language of maths as full of "beauty and elegance". Between two and four prizes are announced each time. Three other researchers were named Fields Medal winners at the same ceremony in South Korea.

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