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Wednesday, 20 October 2021, 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Numbers in Different Languages and Cultures

Professor Karine Chemla, Dr Anuj Misra, Manuel Medrano

This event will focus upon mathematics as expressed in different languages and cultures. The main speaker, Professor Karine Chemla, will discuss Histories of Numbers (6pm). This will be preceded by shorter presentations by Dr Anuj Misra on Sanskrit Mathematics in the Language of Poetry (4pm) and by Manuel Medrano on Knot Just Numbers: Mathematics and More in Andean Khipu Strings (4.45pm). The event ends at 7pm.


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Professor Karine Chemla

Karine Chemla is a Senior Researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), in the laboratory SPHERE (CNRS & University de Paris ). Her research fields include the history of mathematics in ancient and medieval China within the context of a world history of mathematics. She also carries out research on mathematics in 18th and 19th century Europe. More generally, Chemla focuses on the relationships between mathematics and the scholarly cultures in the context of which they are produced, a topic she approaches from a historical anthropology viewpoint.

She has published a number of books, including (with Guo Shuchun) Les neuf chapitres, Le classique mathématique de la Chine ancienne et ses commentaires (Dunod, 2004), a critical edition and French translation of the mathematical book that was perceived for centuries in China as the most important of all mathematical Canons; she has edited others, including recently (with Evelyn Fox-Keller), Cultures Without Culturalism: The Making of Scientific Knowledge (Duke University Press, 2017).

She is a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and in 2020 won the Otto Neugebauer Prize of the European Mathematical Society.

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Anuj Misra

Dr Anuj Misra is a historian and philosopher of mathematics who works on medieval and early modern sources in Sanskrit and Islamicate mathematical astronomy. He is currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow hosted by the Institut for Tværkulturelle og Regionale Studier (University of Copenhagen) to complete his research project Early Modern Exchanges in Sanskrit Astral Sciences.

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Manuel Medrano

Manuel Medrano is a Marshall Scholar in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. His research centres on the utilization of data science techniques to further the decipherment of khipus—knotted string recording devices that served the function of writing in the Inka Empire of South America.

In addition to ongoing decipherment efforts, Manny studies khipus held in museums and private collections around the world, with particular emphasis on the history of khipu excavation, exchange, and study. His forthcoming book on the state of the field, Quipus: Mil años de historia anudada en los Andes y su futuro digital (Khipus: A Thousand Years of Knotted History in the Andes and its Digital Future), will be published in 2021 in Lima, Peru by Planeta.

Manny is committed to public engagement aimed at popularizing Andean studies and the digital humanities. His research has been featured by NPR, Google Arts & Culture, the Boston Globe, CBC, iHeartRadio, and NewScientist, among other outlets. He holds an A.B. from Harvard College, magna cum laude with highest honors, in Applied Mathematics.

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