Nappi obtained the Diploma della Scuola di Perfezionamento in physics from the University of Naples in 1976. Her advisor was Giovanni Jona-Lasinio of the University of Rome. She moved to the United States to carry out academic research, first at Harvard University, and later at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. She has been a professor of physics at the University of Southern California (1999–2001) and Princeton University (2001–present).
Chiara Nappi's early work focused on rigorous statistical mechanics. Her work with R. Figari and R. Hoegh-Krohn resulted in one of the first proposals of a thermal interpretation of quantum field theory in de Sitter space. In the 1980s, with G. Adkins and E. Witten, she investigated the static properties of baryons in the Skyrme model, and with A. Abouelsaood, C. G. Callan, and S. A. Yost, she worked on the behavior of open strings in background electromagnetic fields. She has also contributed to the analysis of black hole solutions and noncommutativity in string theory and integrability in string theories and gauge theories. Nappi has also written a number of articles on education and women in science.
- "Chiara Nappi - Professor". USC Physics. 2002-07-24. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Physics Department, Princeton University - Chiara Nappi". Princeton Physics. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- Figari, R.; R. Hoegh-Krohn and C. R. Nappi (1975-02-11). "Interacting Relativistic Boson Fields In The De Sitter Universe With Two Space-Time Dimensions". Communications in Mathematical Physics 44: 265–278. Bibcode:1975CMaPh..44..265F. doi:10.1007/BF01609830.
- Adkins, G.; C. R. Nappi and E. Witten (1983-12-05). "Static Properties of Nucleons in the Skyrme Model". Nuclear Physics B 228: 552–566. Bibcode:1983NuPhB.228..552A. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(83)90559-X.
- Abouelsaood, A.; C. G. Callan; C. R. Nappi; S. A. Yost (1986-11-06). "Open Strings in Background Gauge Fields". Nuclear Physics B 280: 599–624. Bibcode:1987NuPhB.280..599A. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(87)90164-7.
- http://inspirehep.net/search?p=find+a+nappi,+chiara INSPIRE-HEP Database
- Nappi, Chiara (1999). Why Charter Schools? The Princeton Story. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- Nappi, Chiara (1990-5). "On Mathematics and Science Education in the US and Europe". Physics Today 43: 77. Bibcode:1990PhT....43e..77N. doi:10.1063/1.2810564.
- "Edward Witten Biography". Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 2010-05-13.