The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared March 14 as the International Day of Mathematics (IDM) to pay tribute to late Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani and some other female scientists.
According to the UNESCO official website in mid-September through a proposal, prepared by the International Mathematical Union, UNESCO proclaimed the IDM, to be celebrated on 14 March every year.
The day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of ? (pi number).
The day will recognize the importance of successful female role models in science, including Mirzakhani, Hypatia of Alexandria [Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who died in 415 AD], Emmy Noether [a German mathematician who made important contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics 1882-1935], Sophie Germain [a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher 1776-1831] and Mary Winston Jackson [an African American mathematician and aerospace engineer 1921-2005].
Mathematical sciences play an important role in the understanding of major societal and planetary challenges such as climate change, reversing biodiversity loss, counteracting sea level rise, and forecasting population growth worldwide and associated food needs, in addition to playing a fundamental role in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals.
The international day of mathematics aims to build new bridges between science, society and nature for sustainable development, and forge new links between researchers, citizens, senior officials, industry leaders and non-governmental organizations.
In addition, aiming at raising the profile of women in science, particularly in the field of mathematics, through the promotion of the legacy of notable female mathematicians, triggers interest among girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), where they are very much in the minority.
Mirzakhani a math genius
Mirzakhani, was an Iranian genius mathematician and the first-ever female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal prize who died of breast cancer on July 14, 2017.
The two times gold medal winner in the International Mathematical Olympiad received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology in 1999 and earned a PhD degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 2004.
From 2004 to 2008 the 40-year-old mathematician was a Clay Mathematics Institute Research Fellow and an assistant professor at Princeton University. She was also a professor at Stanford University. Her honors include the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.