MATHEMATICS PRIZE WINNER
Iranian-American Maryam Mirzakhani (1977 – ) earned her PhD at Harvard. She was awarded the 2014 Fields Medal [the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics] for her contributions to symmetry of curved surfaces. Her work has some implications for quantum field theory and the formation of the universe.
[The war during her childhood was the Iran-Iraq war.]
A photograph with her hair not covered has appeared on the internet in Iran, setting off a controversy. Under Iranian Sharia Law, she could be sent to jail for a year in Iran, even though she was outside of Iran at the time her hair was not covered.
I have not been able to determine whether her Czech-American husband is a Muslim or not.
Image by unknown photographer, via Stanford University.
models of extremely high surface area materials
Omar M. Yaghi (1965 – ) is a Jordanian-Palestinian-American chemistry professor educated in the United States.
He designed compounds that have extremely high surface area and have applications in capturing and storing gases.
CHEMISTRY NOBEL PRIZE
Mostafa El-Sayed (1933 – ) and Ahmed H. Zewail (1946 – 2016) both were Egyptian-Americans with a PhD from a university in the United States who used laser flashes to study chemical reactions.
Ahmed H. Zewail won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1999 for his research using ultrashort picosecond laser pulses. He has criticized Egyptian culture as being an impediment to scientific progress.
Iranian-American Ali Eftekhari (1956 – ) while in Iran in 2001 wrote a journal article about Prussian blue and nanotubes that has been cited 64 times by scientists doing research on improved batteries.
He is an instructor and administrator at Avicenna Institute of Technology in the United States. Avicenna was a Shia Sevener, but I do not know which Muslim sect Ali Eftekhari is a member of.
MATHEMATICS OF RANDOM SYSTEMS
Mehran Kardar (1960? – ) is an Iranian-American professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a major contributor to the theoretical understanding of random dynamic systems such as particles in quantum mechanics and the growth of bacteria colonies. He is the K of the KPZ equation.
Iranian-Americans count mathematician Lotfi Asker Zadeh (1921 – ) (who invented fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic) as an Iranian-American. His father was Iranian, and his mother was of Russian Jewish ancestry. He was educated in the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan until age 10, and then attended a Christian (Presbyterian) missionary school in Iran. I have not been able to locate any information about his religious beliefs.
TOPOLOGY OF MORE THAN 3 DIMENSIONS
Cahit Arf (1910 – 1997) is a Turkish mathematician (who received his PhD in Germany) who made contributions to the topology of space of more than 3 dimensions.
American-Canadian Nima Arkani-Hamed (1972 – ) is a professor of theoretical physics. He was a pioneer in the formulation of the little Higgs model of particle physics.
He is of Iranian ancestry. He is mentioned in an Ismaili (Shia Sevener) website, but I have not been able to confirm if this is his religion.
Cumrun Vafa (1960 – ) is an Iranian-American mathematician with a PhD from Princeton. He is a professor at Harvard University doing research on quantum gravity and string theory.
DUBIOUS THEORY OF GRAVITY
The Iranian theoretical physicist Zahra Haghani (1987 – ) received her PhD in Iran. In January 2012 an American website that features theories about the origin of the universe that are not accepted by mainstream scientists announced it would publish her paper on gravity.
A Muslim website repeated a story (perhaps originating in Pakistan in 2008) falsely claiming that NASA announced that the planet Mars had reversed the direction of its spin and that soon the Earth’s rotation would reverse, causing the sun to rise in the west. According to a hadith, that would be a sign the world will come to an end very soon.
ISLAMIC GOLDEN AGE DOCUMENTARY
Jim al-Khalili (1962 – ) is an Iraqi-born British citizen with a PhD in physics from the University of Surrey.
His BBC documentary about the Islamic Golden Age repeated false claims about the accuracy of al-Biruni’s attempt to calculate the circumference of the Earth. See https://muslimscience.blog/2016/11/29/circumference-of-the-earth-2/ for details.
Image cropped from image by Boasap (talk), via Wikimedia Commons.
image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yaghi3.jpg