# Fields Medal Winner Maryam Mirzakhani's Slow-Cooked Math

Going beyond the usual news articles such as these two,

- No longer a man’s world: Iranian woman becomes 1st female winner of ‘math Nobel’
- “First female winner for Fields maths medal”

Quanta magazine gives a more in-depth treatment of the the work of the first woman to win a Fields Medal, which is aptly described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics:

- A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces: Maryam Mirzakhani’s monumental work draws deep connections between topology, geometry and dynamical systems.

I know about this article thanks to Mary O'Keeffe’s Facebook post on my wall. Mary points out that Maryam describes herself as pursuing what I have called “slow-cooked math” (most recently in my Quartz column “How to turn every child into a ‘math person’”):

Mirzakhani likes to describe herself as slow. Unlike some mathematicians who solve problems with quicksilver brilliance, she gravitates toward deep problems that she can chew on for years. 'Months or years later, you see very different aspects’ of a problem, she said. There are problems she has been thinking about for more than a decade. 'And still there’s not much I can do about them,’ she said.

Mirzakhani doesn’t feel intimidated by mathematicians who knock down one problem after another. 'I don’t get easily disappointed,’ she said. 'I’m quite confident, in some sense.

Her slow and steady approach also applies to other areas of her life.