Maggie Miller Receives Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize

September 23, 2022 • by Marc Airhart

UT Austin alumna Maggie Miller, whose research focuses on geometric topology in three to five dimensions, was awarded a prize recognizing women in mathematics.

Maggie Miller Smiling

Maggie Miller

Maggie Miller, a UT Austin alumna in mathematics who will soon return to join the faculty, has been awarded a Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, an early career award for women in mathematics that is part of the annual Breakthrough Prizes. She is being honored for her work on fibered ribbon knots and surfaces in 4-dimensional manifolds.

"The 2023 laureates have produced absolutely stellar science," said Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of the personal genomics company 23andMe. "The creativity, ingenuity and sheer perseverance that went into this work is awe-inspiring."

Miller was one of three women to receive the Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, along with Jinyoung Park from Stanford University and Vera Traub from the University of Bonn. The prizes of $50,000 each, are awarded to women mathematicians who have recently completed their Ph.D.s and produced important results.

Miller, whose research focuses on geometric topology in three to five dimensions, is currently a Visiting Clay Fellow in the math department at Stanford University and a fellow in the Stanford Science Fellows program. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2020 and her undergraduate degree at UT Austin, where she was a Dean's Honored Graduate. She later was an NSF postdoctoral scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was recently featured in Quanta Magazine for her work advancing the understanding of Seifer surfaces.

"Congratulations to all of the Breakthrough Prize winners, whose incredible discoveries will pave the way for scientific discovery and spur innovation," said Chan Zuckerberg Initiative co-founders and co-CEOs Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. "These laureates and early-career scientists are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in research and science, and we're thrilled to honor their accomplishments."

Another UT alumna, Lisa Piccirillo, received one of three inaugural Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prizes in 2021. Piccirillo received widespread attention for solving a 50-year old problem called the Conway Knot problem.

The Breakthrough Prizes were founded by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Julia and Yuri Milner, and Anne Wojcicki and have been sponsored by foundations established by them.