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Karina Chemla between Antoni Malet and Eberhard Knobloch, at Oberwolfach, 2009

Karine Chemla (born February 8, 1957) is a French historian of mathematics and sinologist who works as a director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).[1] She is also a senior fellow at the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.[2] She was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.



Chemla studied at Paris Diderot University and the École normale supérieure de jeunes filles, earning an agrégation in mathematics in 1978 and a diploma of advanced studies in 1979.[3] At this time, her work was in pure mathematics. However, in 1980, influenced by the work of Ilya Prigogine, she won a Singer–Polignac scholarship to travel to China and study the history of Chinese mathematics.[4] Returning to France, she earned her Ph.D. in the history of mathematics from Paris 13 University in 1982, and began working for CNRS at that time.[3]


Chemla's research interests include Chinese mathematics, 19th century French geometry, and the theory of the history of mathematics.[1]

With Guo Shuchun, Kemla published in 2004 a critical edition and translation into French of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art.[4][5][6][7]


Chemla was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1998.[8] She became a member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2004,[9] of the International Academy of the History of Science in 2005,[3] and of the Academia Europaea in 2013.[10] In 2013–2014 she was the holder of the Sarton Chair of History of Science at Ghent University.[11]


  1. ^ a b CHEMLA Karine, Lab. SPHERE (Sciences, Philosophy, History), CNRS, retrieved 2015-10-15.
  2. ^ "Karine Chemla", Senior Fellows, NYU ISAW, retrieved 2015-10-15.
  3. ^ a b c Curriculum vitae: Karine Chemla (PDF), Leopoldina, retrieved 2015-10-15.
  4. ^ a b De Mol, Liesbeth (2014), "Laudatio Karine Chemla", Sartoniana, 27: 9–12.
  5. ^ Volkov, Alexei (2010), "Commentaries upon commentaries: The translation of the Jiu zhang suan shu 九章算術 by Karine Chemla and Guo Shuchun", Historia Mathematica, 37 (2): 281–301, doi:10.1016/
  6. ^ Miao, Tian (2006), "Reviewed Work: Les Neuf Chapitres. Le Classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires by Karine Chemla, Shuchun Guo", Review, T'oung Pao, Second Series, 92 (4/5): 511–513, JSTOR 4529052.
  7. ^ Raphals, Lisa (2007), "Reviewed Work: Les neuf chapitres: Le classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires by Karine Chemla, Guo Shuchun, Geoffrey Lloyd", Review, Isis, 98 (1): 175–176, doi:10.1086/519096.
  8. ^ ICM Plenary and Invited Speakers since 1897, International Mathematical Union, retrieved 2015-10-01.
  9. ^ "Prof. Dr. Karine Chemla", List of Members, Leopoldina, retrieved 2015-10-15.
  10. ^ Member profile: Karine Chemla, Academia Europaea, retrieved 2015-10-15.
  11. ^ Sarton Chair of History of Science: Past chair holders, Ghent University, retrieved 2015-10-15.