Balzer + Bray
A True Tale with
A Cherry On Top
Author: Megan Reid
and illustrator: Aaliya Jaleel
Character: Maryam Mirzkhani
"As a little girl, Maryam Mirzakhani was spellbound by stories. She loved reading in Tehran’s crowded bookstores, and at home she'd spend hours crafting her own tales on giant rolls of paper.
Maryam loved school, especially her classes in reading and writing. But she did not like math. Numbers were nowhere near as interesting as the bold, adventurous characters she found in books. Until Maryam unexpectedly discovered a new genre of storytelling: In geometry, numbers became shapes, each with its own fascinating personality—making every equation a brilliant story waiting to be told.
As an adult, Maryam became a professor, inventing new formulas to solve some of math's most complicated puzzles. And she made history by becoming the first woman—and the first Iranian—to win the Fields Medal, mathematics’ highest award."
"People even called one of her discoveries 'the magic wand theorem' because it worked like magic to solve many problems that scientists had been puzzling over for more than a hundred years. She explained it using the image of a pool table, with balls that zigged and zagged forever. If you covered the balls in paint, how long would it take for their scattered paths to color the table completely?"
And something more: In the Author's Note, Megan Reid writes "I was sad that I had learned about this heroic figure only after she had passed away. I wished I could have let her know how much I admired her. But I was enchanted by a tidbit near the end of the article: 'Dr. Mirzakhan often dived into her math research by doodling on vast pieces of paper ... with equations at the edges.' How exciting that a brilliant mathematician was also an artist, would could bring the secrets of the infinite universe down to her living room floor."