Ingrid Daubechies, Belgian and American physicist and mathematician

Ingrid Daubechies, Belgian and American physicist and mathematician

Thu, 15/03/2018


Doctor Honoris Causa of ENS de Lyon, March 15, 2018


Born in 1954, Ingrid Daubechies grew up and studied in Belgium where, in 1980, she completed a PhD thesis in theoretical physics at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. She worked at the same university until 1987, and then joined the AT&T Bell Labs Mathematical Research Center at Murray Hill, New Jersey, where she worked for seven years. She chose to stay in the United States and began an academic career at Rutgers University where she worked until 1993 before moving to Princeton University where she became the first female Full Professor of Mathematics. She was a member of the Abel Committee from 2004 to 2006 and President of the International Mathematical Union from 2011 to 2014. Since 2010, she has been Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. During her research, she has maintained close ties with the École normale supérieure de Lyon for almost thirty years now.

Her first work focused initially on quantum physics, then Ingrid Daubechies continued her research in mathematics, working on engineering applications. Her master work is linked to the theory of wavelets, which can be seen as a powerful generalization of Fourier analysis. Ingrid Daubechies has played a central role in the interpretation, development, and implementation of this theory. More specifically, in the mid-80s, she built a family of wavelets which were named after her and have been used all over the world. This fundamental discovery paved the way for a real revolution in signal and image processing. It has been used in the new image compression standard JPEG2000 and has spread to time-frequency analysis and machine-learning, combining theory, algorithms, and applications.

The impact of Ingrid Daubechie’s work has earned her international recognition. Role model for women scientists, she is also committed to the fight for equal opportunities, education and access to science in developing countries. Ingrid Daubechies has made it her personal goal to put mathematics on the scientific map, as well as on a cultural and humanitarian level, and this makes her a scientific influence that the École normale supérieure de Lyon is particularly honored to count amongst its Honoris causa.

Awards and distinctions

1984: Louis Empain Prize for Physics, Belgium
1992: Fellow of MacArthur Foundation, USA
1998: Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA
2000: Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, USA
2009: Foreign Associated Member, Academy of Sciences, France
2013: Guggenheim Fellow, USA
2015: Member of the National Academy of Engineering, USA
2016: Math+X Simons Foundation award, USA
2018: Doctor Honoris Causa from ENS de Lyon


Book coverTen Lectures on Wavelets, SIAM books, 1992

This monograph contains 10 lectures presented by Dr. Daubechies as the principal speaker at the 1990 CBMS-NSF Conference on Wavelets and Applications. The author has worked on several aspects of the wavelet transform and has developed a collection of wavelets that are remarkably efficient.

ISBN: 978-0-89871-274-2