Jean Serra

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Jean Serra
Jean Serra in 2007
Citizenship France
Known forco-founding Mathematical morphology
AwardsGeorges Matheron Lectureship 2006
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, geology
InstitutionsCentre de Morphologie Mathématique, École des Mines de Paris

Jean Paul Frédéric Serra (born 1940 in Algeria) is a French mathematician and engineer, and known as one of the co-founders (together with Georges Matheron) of mathematical morphology.



Serra received a scientific baccalauréat in 1957, and an engineering degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nancy in 1962. He also obtained a Bachelor's degree in philosophy/psychology, from the University of Nancy, in 1965. He obtained a PhD in Mathematical Geology from the University of Nancy in 1967, and a doctorat d'etat in Mathematics, from the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, in 1986. He speaks French, Russian, English, and Spanish.

Mathematical morphology[edit]

From 1962 to 1966, while a research engineer at the Institut de recherche de la sidérurgie, France, Serra was a PhD student under the supervision of Georges Matheron. The subject of his thesis was "stochastic modeling of the iron deposit of Lorraine, at various scales," one of the goals of which was to quantify petrographic characteristics of its iron orebody. During that period, Serra came up with the idea of using structuring elements for transforming images of cross sections of the ore, in order to gain information about it. The result was a device called "Texture Analyser", which was patented in 1965. This work also lead to the concept of hit-or-miss transform, which evolved into the concepts of erosion, dilation, opening and closing due to Matheron. Granulometry and other concepts followed. In the Winter of 1966, in a pub of Nancy,[1] Matheron, Philippe Formery, and Serra decided to give a name to this body of works: "Mathematical morphology". The new theory and method has since evolved to be applied in a variety of image processing problems and tasks, and is researched worldwide[2] (main article: Mathematical morphology).

In 1968, the Centre of Mathematical Morphology (CMM) of the École des Mines de Paris was created (after 1979, it was called Centre of Geostatistics and Mathematical Morphology). Matheron was named director, and Serra was hired as master of research ("Maître de Recherches") and assistant director. In 1986, upon the split of the Centre of Geostatistics and Mathematical Morphology into two separate centers, Serra became director of research ("Directeur de Recherches") and the director of the new CMM.

Serra has continued to contribute to mathematical morphology over the years; In fact, some of the most important theoretical developments are due to him:

Additional highlights[edit]

Honors and awards[edit]

Main publications[edit]

  • Image Analysis and Mathematical Morphology, ISBN 0-12-637240-3 (1982)
  • Image Analysis and Mathematical Morphology, Volume 2: Theoretical Advances, ISBN 0-12-637241-1 (1988)


  1. ^ "Appendix A: The 'centre de morphologie mathematique': An overview" by Jean Serra, in (Serra and Soille (Eds.) 1994).
  2. ^ See, e.g., (Banon, Barrera, and Braga-Neto (Eds.) 2007)
  3. ^ See (Serra and Salembier (Eds.) 1993)
  4. ^ See (Serra and Soille (Eds.) 1994)
  5. ^ "IAMG Newsletter No 73, Page 8;" (PDF). 1 December 2006. Retrieved 25 August 2014.