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French Legion of Honour awarded to Nicole El Karoui

Nicole El Karoui, a mathematics professor and expert on probability, received, on October 15th 2006, the French Legion of Honour for her pioneering work in the field of mathematics applied to finance.

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

More than a month ago, Nicole El Karoui, a leader in the field of mathematics applied to finance, received one of the highest French honours: the Legion of Honour.

While the news was barely spread over the financial press, it nonetheless reflects a great recognition of the work carried out by Prof. El Karoui as a contribution to the development of French mathematics in the highest levels of global finance

Born in Nancy, Doctor of Science graduated from ENS and currently Vice-Chairman of the Department of Mathematics of Ecole Polytechnique, Nicole El Karoui was among the very first in France, with other professors such as Nicolas Bouleau or Helyette Geman, to work on financial modeling of equity and derivative markets. She was also a pioneer in setting up well-known university programs dedicated toin mathematics applied to finance in the 90’s. This incluses the Master de probabilités et Finance (probabilities and Finance) from Paris 6 University, known as the "DEA El Karoui", she still actually runs today with Marc Yor and Gilles Pagès and which is an international reference in quantitative analysts training program.

That was only a start. Other programs later emerged in France (or switched orientation), such as Laure Elie’s Master modélisation aléatoire (random modeling) from Paris 7, or the Master analyse des systèmes aléatoires (analysis of random systems) from Marne-la-Valley led by Damien Lamberton. Like the "El Karoui", those masters manage to succeed to the point where people roughly estimate that "1 out of 3" quants in the world would be derived from the French school.

Nicole El Karoui received her award last Saturday, October 15th, during the military ceremony of flag presentation, from President of the Board of Directors of the Ecole Polytechnique, Yannick d’Escatha. While people to often question the criteria used to assign such high honors, it is agreed that the timing, in the case of Prof. El Karoui is perfect. Indeed she will soon retire. And of course the reward is well-deserved.

Yann Olivier , November 2006

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

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