The big news out of the International Congress of Mathematicians, currently taking place in Seoul, South Korea, is that Maryam Mirzakhani was awarded a Fields Medal, becoming the first woman to receive math’s highest honor. Mirzakhani’s win also speaks to another cultural change in mathematics. Her research area, dynamics, is…

A very quick overview of dynamics in Slate, the area that two of this year’s four Fields medalists study.

A short video about Maryam Mirzakhani, one of the four new Fields medalists.

…mathematics is so rich and infinite that it is impossible to learn it systematically, and if you wait to master one topic before moving on to the next, you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, you’ll have tendrils of knowledge extending far from your comfort zone. Then you can later backfill from these tendrils, and extend your comfort zone; this is much easier to do than learning “forwards”.

Scientists are a famously anonymous lot, but few can match in the depths of her perverse and unmerited obscurity the 20th-century mathematical genius Emmy Noether.