Claire Voisin, mathematician and 2016 CNRS gold medal winner, during her inaugural lecture at the Collège de France on June 2nd 2016.
Claire Voisin, mathematician and 2016 CNRS gold medal winner, during her inaugural lecture at the Collège de France on June 2nd 2016.© Patrick IMBERT / Collège de France

Claire Voisin, the CNRS gold medal winner in 2016, has been awarded two prestigious mathematics prizes


The mathematician Claire Voisin has just been awarded the Crafoord and Frontiers of Knowledge prizes for 2024 which add to the long list of distinctions she has been awarded throughout her career.

Since Claire Voisin joined the CNRS she has won award after award with the CNRS bronze medal in 1988, the silver medal in 2006 and the gold medal in 2016. She was made a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2010 and was the first female mathematician to be elected to the Collège de France in 2016 where she remained until 2020 as the holder of the chair of Algebraic Geometry... Two more awards have just been added to this frankly non-exhaustive list. Firstly she is the first woman to be awarded the Crafoord Prize1  in mathematics. The second is the 2024 Frontiers of Knowledge Prize2  awarded by the BBVA Foundation and shared with her American colleague Yakov Eliashberg. The two latest awards are in recognition of Claire Voisin's outstanding contributions to complex and algebraic geometry, particularly Hodge theory, algebraic cycles and hyperkähler geometry, and also her work at the crossroads of algebraic and symplectic geometry. This confirms the excellence of French research in mathematics particularly in algebraic geometry.

Claire Voisin is a CRNS research professor at the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu - Paris rive gauche3  and internationally recognised for her work at the crossroads of different mathematical disciplines. This is partly because of the nature of the field she has specialised in since joining the CNRS in 1986 after her thesis, namely algebraic geometry. When Claire Voisin was awarded the CNRS gold medal, François Charles, one of her former PhD students and now a professor at Paris-Saclay University, explained that "what’s interesting in algebraic geometry is that you can do geometry to understand algebraic equations and algebra to elucidate geometric figures."

However, the French mathematician's highly original approach might also derive from her artistic outlook - she painted until the age of 25 - and her creative nature. As she herself admitted to CNRS Le Journal in 2016, "I wouldn't actually call myself an artist but it's true you need to be creative to be good at mathematics".

This reflects the high esteem in which she holds her discipline, a field of study she goes so far as to describe as a "fact of civilisation". For her "doing mathematics is a source of knowledge, a way of attaining knowledge that is at the root of something fundamental in human activity.”

Claire Voisin, mathématicienne, médaille d'or 2016 du CNRS, pendant les rencontres "Speed Sciences 2016"
Claire Voisin, mathematician and 2016 CNRS gold medal winner, during the 'Speed Sciences 2016' event. Cyril FRESILLON/CNRS Images


  • 1The Crafoord Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Crafoord Foundation in Lund, Sweden, with the Academy selecting the winners. A winner from a different discipline is chosen every year among the fields of mathematics and astronomy, geosciences, biosciences and polyarthritis. The prize is worth six million Swedish crowns and will be awarded this year during the Crafoord days to be held in Lund and Stockholm from May 13th to 16th 2024.
  • 2The BBVA Foundation's Frontiers of Knowledge awards are in recognition of international level research and cultural creation particularly contributions of great significance through their originality and theoretical importance.
  • 3CNRS/Sorbonne University/Université Paris Cité.