Ingrid Daubechies

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Ingrid Daubechies
Ingrid Daubechies (2005).jpg
Ingrid Daubechies in 2005
Born (1954-08-17) 17 August 1954 (age 66)
Alma materVrije Universiteit Brussel
Known forWavelets
Awards MacArthur Fellowship (1992)
NAS Award in Mathematics (2000)
Noether Lecturer (2006)
Leroy P. Steele Prize (2011)
Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (2012)
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2012)
L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award (2019)
Princess of Asturias Award (2020)
Scientific career
InstitutionsDuke University
Princeton University
Doctoral advisorJean Reignier
Alex Grossmann
Doctoral studentsAnna Gilbert
Rachel Ward

Baroness Ingrid Daubechies (/dbəˈʃ/ doh-bə-SHEE;[1] French: [dobʃi]; born 17 August 1954) is a Belgian physicist and mathematician. She is best known for her work with wavelets in image compression.

Daubechies is recognized for her study of the mathematical methods that enhance image-compression technology. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering,[2] the National Academy of Sciences[3] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[4] She is also a 1992 MacArthur Fellow.

The name Daubechies is widely associated with the orthogonal Daubechies wavelet and the biorthogonal CDF wavelet. A wavelet from this family of wavelets is now used in the JPEG 2000 standard. Her research involves the use of automatic methods from both mathematics, technology and biology to extract information from samples like bones and teeth.[5] She also developed sophisticated image processing techniques used to help establish the authenticity and age of some of the world's most famous works of art including paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Daubechies was born in Houthalen, Belgium, as the daughter of Marcel Daubechies (a civil mining engineer) and Simonne Duran (then a homemaker, later a criminologist).[7] She remembers that when she was a little girl and could not sleep, she did not count numbers, as you would expect from a child, but started to multiply numbers by two from memory. Thus, as a child, she already familiarized herself with the properties of exponential growth. Her parents found out that mathematical conceptions, like cone and tetrahedron, were familiar to her before she reached the age of 6. She excelled at the primary school, moved up a class after only 3 months. After completing the Lyceum in Hasselt[8] she entered the Vrije Universiteit Brussel at 17.[9]

Daubechies completed her undergraduate studies in physics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1975. During the next few years, she visited the CNRS Center for Theoretical Physics in Marseille several times, where she collaborated with Alex Grossmann; this work was the basis for her doctorate in quantum mechanics.[9] She obtained her PhD in theoretical physics in 1980 at Free University in Brussels.[10][11]


Daubechies continued her research career at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel until 1987, rising through the ranks to positions roughly equivalent with research assistant-professor in 1981 and research associate-professor 1985, funded by a fellowship from the NFWO (Nationaal Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek).[12]

Daubechies spent most of 1986 as a guest-researcher at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. At Courant she made her best-known discovery: based on quadrature mirror filter-technology she constructed compactly supported continuous wavelets that would require only a finite amount of processing, in this way enabling wavelet theory to enter the realm of digital signal processing.[12][13]

In July 1987, Daubechies joined the Murray Hill AT&T Bell Laboratories' New Jersey facility. In 1988 she published the result of her research on orthonormal bases of compactly supported wavelets in Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics.[9][14] From 1991-1994 Daubechies taught as a professor at Rutgers University in their Mathematics Department.[11]

In 1994, Daubechies moved to Princeton University, where she was active within the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. In 2004 she was named William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor[15] and became the first female full professor of mathematics at Princeton.[6] In January 2011 Daubechies moved to Duke University to serve as the James B. Duke Professor in the department of mathematics and electrical and computer engineering at Duke University.[16] In 2016, she and Heekyoung Hahn[17] founded Duke Summer Workshop in Mathematics (SWIM) for female rising high school seniors.[18][19]

Daubechies is on the board of directors of Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE), a program that helps women entering graduate studies in the mathematical sciences. She was the first woman to be president of the International Mathematical Union (2011–2014).[20]

Awards and honors[edit]

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 the age of 29.[21] Between 1992 and 1997 she was a fellow of the 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[21] and was invited to give a plenary lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich. In 1997 she was awarded the AMS Ruth Lyttle Satter prize.[22] In 1998, she was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences[23] and won the Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation from the IEEE Information Theory Society[24] She became a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999.[25] She became a member of the Academia Europaea in 2015.[26]

In 2000, Daubechies became the first woman to receive the National Academy of Sciences 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".[27] She was awarded the Basic Research Award, German Eduard Rhein Foundation[28][29] and the NAS Award in Mathematics.[30]

In January 2005, Daubechies became 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".[13]

Daubechies was the 2006 Emmy Noether Lecturer at the San Antonio Joint Mathematics Meetings.[31] In September 2006, the Pioneer Prize from the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics was awarded jointly to Daubechies and Heinz Engl.[13]

In 2010 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).[32]

In 2011, Daubechies was the SIAM John von Neumann Lecturer,[33] and was awarded the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal,[34] the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research from the American Mathematical Society,[35] and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering from the Franklin Institute.[36]

In 2012, King Albert II of Belgium granted Daubechies the title of Baroness.[37] She also won the 2012 Nemmers Prize in Mathematics, Northwestern University,[38] and the 2012 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences category (jointly with David Mumford).[13]

In 2015, Daubechies gave the Gauss Lecture of the German Mathematical Society.[39] The Simons Foundation, a private foundation based in New York City that funds research in mathematics and the basic sciences, gave Daubechies the Math + X Investigator award, which provides money to professors at American and Canadian universities to encourage new partnerships between mathematicians and researchers other fields of science.[20] She was the one to suggest Simons that the foundation should fund not new research but better mechanisms for interpreting existing data.[40]

In 2018, Daubechies won the William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics from City University of Hong Kong (CityU). She is the first female recipient of the award. Prize officials cited Professor Daubechies' pioneering work in wavelet theory and her "exceptional contributions to a wide spectrum of scientific and mathematical subjects...her work in enabling the mobile smartphone revolution is truly symbolic of the era."[41]

In 2018, Daubechies was awarded the Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award ($440,000) for her work on wavelets.[42] She is part of the 2019 class of fellows of the Association for Women in Mathematics.[43][44]

Daubechies was named the North American Laureate of 2019 L'Oréal-UNESCO International Award For Women in Science. Since 1998, the award annually recognizes five outstanding women in chemistry, physics, materials science, mathematics, and computer science worldwide;[45][46] Daubechies was chosen (for North America) along with Najat Aoun Saliba (Africa and Arab States), Maki Kawai (Asia Pacific), Karen Hallberg (Latin America), and Claire Voisin (Europe).[45][46][47]

In 2020, Daubechies received the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research.[48]

Personal life[edit]

In 1985, Daubechies met mathematician Robert Calderbank, then on a 3-month exchange visit from AT&T Bell Laboratories, New Jersey to the Brussels-based mathematics division of Philips Research; they married in 1987.[49] They have two children, Michael and Carolyn Calderbank.[49]


  • Ten Lectures on Wavelets. Philadelphia: SIAM. 1992. ISBN 0-89871-274-2.[50]
  • Orthonormal bases of compactly supported wavelets[51] 1988, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Journal: Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, Volume41, Issue 7.
  • D. Aerts and I. Daubechies, A connection between propositional systems in Hilbert spaces and von Neumann algebras,[52] Helv. Phys. Acta, 52, pp. 184–199, 1979.
  • D. Aerts and I. Daubechies, A characterization of subsystems in physics,[52] Lett. Math. Phys., 3 (1), pp. 11–17, 1979.
  • Iteratively reweighted least squares minimization for sparse recovery[53] 2009, Periodicals, Inc. Journal: Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, Volume 63, Issue1.
  • Cohen, I. Daubechies, and A. Ron, How smooth is the smoothest function in a given refinable space?,[52] Appl. Comp. Harm. Anal., 3 (1), pp. 87–89, 1996.
  • I. Daubechies, S. Jaffard, and J.L. Journe, A simple Wilson orthonormal basis with exponential decay,[52] SIAM J. Math. Anal., 22 (2), pp. 554–572, 1991.




  1. ^ Ingrid Daubechies - 2016 – ICTP Math
  2. ^ "Professor Ingrid Daubechies". NAE Website. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Member Search". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Member Directory | American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  5. ^ Correspondent, Frankie Grace Hall. "Duke professor integrates biology, mathematics". Technician. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Art detective work: did Rembrandt really paint that? - The University of Auckland". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  7. ^ Diamant voor Simonne en Marcel in
  8. ^ Daubechies herself, quoted in Flanders Today #15, October 2014, available here. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Alles voor de wetenschap: Aflevering 5: Ingrid Daubechies [Everything for the science: Episode 5: Ingrid Daubechies] (Television production) (in Dutch). Belgium: Canvas. 27 February 2011. Event occurs at 21:40. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Ingrid Daubechies". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Ingrid Daubechies - MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Ingrid Daubechies". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d "Ingrid Daubechies". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  14. ^ I. Daubechies, Orthonormal bases of compactly supported wavelets, Comm. Pure & Appl. Math., 41 (7), pp. 909-996, 1988.
  15. ^ "Endowed Professorships and Other Designated Chairs". Princeton University. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Daubechies". 17 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Heekyoung Hahn | Department of Mathematics". Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Summer Workshop in Mathematics – for female high school students". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Math professor Ingrid Daubechies awarded $1.5 million grant". The Chronicle. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Ingrid Daubechies biography". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  22. ^ "American Mathematical Society". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  23. ^ Personal entry, United States National Academy of Sciences
  24. ^ "Golden Jubilee Awards for Technological Innovation". IEEE Information Theory Society. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
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  26. ^ List of members, Academia Europaea, retrieved 2 October 2020
  27. ^ Jackson, Allyn (May 2000). "Ingrid Daubechies Receives NAS Award in Mathematics" (PDF). Notices of the AMS. 47 (5): 571 – via American Mathematical Society.
  28. ^ "Award Winners (chronological)". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  29. ^ "Basic Research Award 2000 - Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Ingrid Daubechies". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  30. ^ "NAS Award in Mathematics". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  31. ^ "The Emmy Noether Lectures". Association for Women in Mathematics. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  32. ^ "Honorary Doctors". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Ingrid Daubechies of Duke University awarded the John von Neumann Lecture Prize at ICIAM 2011". EurekAlert. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  34. ^ "IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  35. ^ "2011 Steele Prizes" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 58 (4): 593–596. April 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  36. ^ "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering". Franklin Institute. 2011. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  37. ^ "Adellijke gunsten". Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  38. ^ "The Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics". Northwestern University. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  39. ^ 2018, Scimetrica, - ©. "Gauß-Vorlesung: An der Schnittstelle zwischen Kunst und Mathematik". Retrieved 29 March 2018.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  40. ^ Max, D. T. (11 December 2017). "Jim Simons, the Numbers King". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  41. ^ Law, Emily. "Notable mathematician of our time awarded CityU's William Benter Prize". City University of Hong Kong.
  42. ^ "2018 Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award presented to Professor Ingrid Daubechies". Duke University. 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2020. The 2018 Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award has been awarded to Ingrid Daubechies, James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The award is presented for her remarkable contributions to wavelets, especially the orthogonal Daubechies wavelet and the biorthogonal CDF (Cohen-Daubechies-Feauveau) wavelet
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  44. ^ "2018 Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award Announcement". Fudan Science and Engineering Forum. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
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  46. ^ a b Epstein, Rachel (14 March 2019). "This Groundbreaking Mathematician Wants You to Pursue a Career in STEM". Marie Claire. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  47. ^ "Daubechies Named North American Laureate of 2019 L'Oréal-UNESCO International Award For Women in Science". Duke Pratt School of Engineering. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  48. ^ "Yves Meyer, Ingrid Daubechies, Terence Tao and Emmanuel Candès, Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research 2020". Princess of Asturias Foundation. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  49. ^ a b "Personal Life". Ingrid Daubechies. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  50. ^ Meyer, Yves (1993). "Review: An introduction to wavelets, by Charles K. Chui; Ten lectures on wavelets, by Ingrid Daubechies". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 28 (2): 350–360. doi:10.1090/S0273-0979-1993-00363-X.
  51. ^ Daubechies, Ingrid (October 1988). "Orthonormal bases of compactly supported wavelets". Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics. 41 (7): 909–996. doi:10.1002/cpa.3160410705.
  52. ^ a b c d "Ingrid Daubechies' Publication List". Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  53. ^ Daubechies, Ingrid; DeVore, Ronald; Fornasier, Massimo; Güntürk, C. Si̇nan (January 2010). "Iteratively reweighted least squares minimization for sparse recovery". Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics. 63 (1): 1–38. arXiv:0807.0575. doi:10.1002/cpa.20303.
  54. ^ "Making Wavelets: A Profile of Ingrid Daubechies". Simons Foundation. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  55. ^ "Animation, Teeth and Skeletons: Ingrid Daubechies' 2012 Talk on Algorithms for Biological Morphology". Simons Foundation. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2020.


External links[edit]