August 17, 1954 -
Born in Houthalen, Belgium. She received her B.S. degree in physics from the Free University Brussels in 1975 and her Ph.D. in physics in 1980 from the same institution. After teaching at the Free University Brussels for 12 years, she joined AT&T Bell Laboratories where she became a leading authority on wavelet theory. In 1987 she constructed a class of wavelets that were identically zero outside a finite interval, now among the most common type of wavelets used in applications. In 1993 she became a full professor in the Mathematics Department and the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. She was the first woman full professor of mathematics at Princeton. In 2010 she was elected as the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union. She is currently the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University.
Daubechies received the Louis Empain Prize for Physics in 1984, awarded once every five years to a Belgian scientist on the basis of work done before age 29. Between 1992 and 1997 she was a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and in 1993 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1994 she received the American Mathematical Society Steele Prize for Exposition for her book Ten Lectures on Wavelets. The American Mathematical Society awarded her the 1997 Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics for "her deep and beautiful analysis of wavelets and their applications."
In 2000 Daubechies became the first woman to receive the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award in Mathematics, presented every 4 years for excellence in published mathematical research. The award honored her "for fundamental discoveries on wavelets and wavelet expansions and for her role in making wavelets methods a practical basic tool of applied mathematics."
In January 2005, Daubechies became just the third woman since 1924 to give the Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture sponsored by the American Mathematical Society. Her talk was on "The Interplay Between Analysis and Algorithm."
Ingrid Daubechies was the 2006 Emmy Noether Lecturer at the San Antonio Joint Mathematics Meeting. Read her profile from the AWM.
In September 2006, the Pioneer Prize from the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics was awarded jointly to Ingrid Daubechies and Heinz Engl. The citation for Daubechies reads:
The ICIAM/SIAM Pioneer Prize is awarded to Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University, Princeton, USA, for her pioneering work in applied mathematics and applications. Her work is a permanent contribution to mathematics, science and engineering and has found widespread use in image processing and time frequency analysis. Daubechies best known achievement is her construction of compactly supported wavelets in the late 1980s. Since that time she has advanced the development of biorthogonal wavelet bases. These bases are currently the most commonly used bases for data compression. Daubechies name is widely associated with the biorthogonal CDF wavelet. Wavelets from this family are currently used in JPEG 2000 for both lossless and lossy compression. Her continuing wavelet research also resulted in path-breaking work including the discovery of Wilson bases. This discovery led to the existence of cosine packet libraries of orthonormal bases and Gaussian bases. These are now standard tools in time frequency analysis and numerical solutions of partial differential equations.
Daubechies received the 2011 John von Neumann Lecture Prize, awarded July 18 at the 7th International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM 2011) held in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is the highest honor awarded by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and was established in 1959 to reward outstanding contributions to the field of applied mathematical sciences and their effective communication to the community. She received the $5000 prize in recognition of her fundamental work in the development of the foundations and applications of wavelets, and her multifaceted and lasting contributions to the mathematical sciences and engineering fields. In addition, in August 2011 Daubechies was awarded the 2011 Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
In 2012 Daubechies was awarded the Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics, one of the largest monetary awards in the United States honoring outstanding achievements in mathematics. She was honored "for her numerous and lasting contributions to applied and computational analysis and for the remarkable impact her work has had across engineering and the sciences." That same year she was also one of two recipients of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences for 2012 [also see AMS Notices article]. She was cited for her work on wavelets "which has strongly influenced diverse fields of application ranging from data compression to pattern recognition."
Daubechies received the 1997 Satter Prize. The following is reprinted with permission from The Notices of the American Mathematical Society, March 1997, Vol. 44, No. 3, p348-349.
The Satter Prize Committee recommends that the 1997 Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics be awarded to Ingrid Daubechies of Princeton University for her deep and beautiful analysis of wavelets and their applications. Her work is a permanent contribution not only to mathematics but to science and engineering. Daubechies' best-known achievement is her construction of compactly supported wavelets in the late 1980s. Over the last five years she has continued their development on the theoretical level and to applications in physics and signal processing. Her continuing research has resulted in the following path-breaking developments. Her discovery with Jaffard and Journe of orthonormal Wilson bases provided the first clues to the existence of cosine packet libraries of orthonormal bases as well as Gaussian bases. These are now standard tools in time frequency analysis as well as in the numerical analysis of partial differential equations. Her work with A. Cohen on biorthogonal wavelet bases provided a more flexible approach to the use of wavelets in image compression algorithms. Biorthogonal basis functions are currently the most common wavelets used in standard compression; they are considered to be superior to orthogonal filters in, for example, fingerprint compression. While continuing to push forward wavelet analysis, Daubechies has also made important contributions in other related areas. Of particular note are her work with Klauder on path integration and her work with her student Anna Gilbert on homogenization, which has contributed to our understanding of multiscale interactions and their computations.
Brief Biographical Sketch
Ingrid Daubechies received both her bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees (in 1975 and 1980) from the Free University in Brussels, Belgium. She held a research position at the Free University until 1987. From 1987 to 1994 she was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, during which time she took leaves to spend six months (in 1990) at the University of Michigan, and two years (1991-93) at Rutgers University. She is now at the mathematics department and the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University.
She was awarded a Leroy P. Steele prize for exposition in 1994 for her book Ten Lectures on Wavelets. From 1992 to 1997 she was a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronical Engineers. She is married and has two children.
Response from Ingrid Daubechies
I would like to thank the American Mathematical Society as well as the members of the Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize Committee for awarding this prize to me this year. I am particularly grateful that the citation mentions both my theoretical work and my interest in concrete applications. They are both important to me, and it is gratifying to see them both recognized. I would also like to thank my many collaborators: working with them has enriched both my mathematics and my life.
Listen to an April 2004 online interview with Ingrid Daubechies by Dorian Devins in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences.
Daubechies presented a Math Matters Public Lecture on October 29, 2008, at the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications. You can view her lecture on "Surfing with Wavelets" at http://www.ima.umn.edu/2008-2009/PUB10.29.08/.
Photo Credit: The photo of Ingrid Daubechies is from What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences, Volume 2 (1994), copyrighted by the American Mathematical Society. Permission is given to make and distribute verbatim copies of this publication or of individual items from this publication provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.