profile picture of Karine Chemla

Karine Chemla

Visiting Scholar (Aug 2018-Dez 2018)

PhD. Professor and Director of Research, CNRS, France

Karine Chemla studied mathematics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Jeunes Filles (1976–1982), and the history of mathematics at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (Beijing, China, 1981), earning her PhD in mathematics in 1982, with a dissertation on a thirteenth-century Chinese mathematical writing (University Paris XIII-Villetaneuse). She is now Senior Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), in the laboratory SPHERE (CNRS & University Paris Diderot), and from 2011 to 2016, she was Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Research Grant “Mathematical Sciences in the Ancient Worlds” (SAW). She focuses on the relationship between mathematics and the various cultures in the context of which it is practiced from a historical anthropology viewpoint. At the MPIWG, she will work with Glenn Most to complete their joint project on mathematical commentaries in the ancient world. Chemla published, with Guo Shuchun, Les neuf chapitres (Dunod, 2004), and she co-edited, with Evelyn Fox-Keller, Cultures Without Culturalism: The Making of Scientific Knowledge (Duke University Press, 2017). She is a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Section History of Science and Medicine (elected 2005) and of the Academia Europaea, Section History and Archeology (elected 2013). She was awarded the Prize Binoux of the French Academy of Science (2006), the Prize Hirayama of the Academy of Inscriptions & Belles-Lettres (2006), and the silver medal from CNRS (2008).


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Commentaries on Mathematical Texts in a Comparative Perspective


Selected Publications

Chemla, K., & Keller, E. F. (Eds.). (2017). Cultures without culturalism. Durham: Duke University Press.

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Chorlay, R., & Rabouin, D. (2017). The Oxford handbook of generality in mathematics and the sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Chemla, K. (Ed.). (2012). The history of mathematical proof in ancient traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Chemla, K., & Shuchun, G. (2004). Les neuf chapitres. Paris: Dunod.

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Past Events


Medical Commentaries and Comment(aries) on Medicine


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

George Sarton Chair Holder, Universiteit Gent

The Hans Rausing Lecture, Uppsala University

"Philosophy of Mathematical Practice"

Master class, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels

"How Has One and How Could Have One Approached the Diversity of Mathematical Cultures?"

European Congress of Mathematicians, Plenary lecture, TU Berlin

"Writing the History of Ancient Mathematics in China and Beyond in the 19th Century: Who? For Whom?, and How?"

Conference, Making of the Humanities V, Johns Hopkins