Ingrid Daubechies

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Ingrid Daubechies
File:Ingrid Daubechies (2005).jpg
Ingrid Daubechies in 2005
Born (1954-08-17) 17 August 1954 (age 64)
Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium
Fields Mathematician
Institutions Duke University
Princeton University
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Doctoral advisor Jean Reignier
Alex Grossmann
Doctoral students Anna Gilbert
Özgür Yılmaz
Rachel Ward
Known for Wavelets
Notable awards Noether Lecturer (2006)
NAS Award in Mathematics (2000)
Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (2012)
MacArthur Fellowship

BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award
Leroy P. Steele Prize (2011)

Baroness Ingrid Daubechies (/dbiˈʃ/ doh-bee-SHEE; born 17 August 1954) is a Belgian physicist and mathematician. Between 2004 and 2011 she was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the mathematics and applied mathematics departments at Princeton University.[1] In January 2011 she moved to Duke University as a professor in mathematics. She is the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union (2011–2014). She is best known for her work with wavelets in image compression.


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). Ingrid 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. According to her parents she was able to derive the area of an ellipse by means of integral calculation at the age of 11. After completing the Lyceum in Turnhout she entered the Vrije Universiteit Brussel at 17.[2] 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.[2] She obtained her Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1980, and 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).

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, after Daubechies had 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. In July 1987, Daubechies joined the Murray Hill AT&T Bell Laboratories' New Jersey facility. In 1988 she published the result in Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics.[2][3]

From 1994 to 2010, Daubechies was a professor at Princeton University, where she was active especially within the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. She was the first female full professor of mathematics at Princeton. In January 2011 she moved to Duke University to serve as a professor of mathematics.

In 2012 King Albert II of Belgium granted her the title of Baroness.

Daubechies and Calderbank have two children, Michael and Carolyn Calderbank.

The name Daubechies is widely associated with


She 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. 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 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. She was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1998.[4]

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."

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 Meetings.[5]

In September 2006, the Pioneer Prize from the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics was awarded jointly to Ingrid Daubechies and Heinz Engl.

2012 Nemmers Prize in Mathematics, Northwestern University,[6]

2015 Gauss Lecture of the German Mathematical Society.

She won 2012 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences category (jointly with David Mumford).

Daubechies currently works as a James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University.

Major awards


  • Ten Lectures on Wavelets. Philadelphia: SIAM. 1992. ISBN 0-89871-274-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[15]


  1. "Endowed Professorships and Other Designated Chairs". Princeton University. Retrieved 2011-09-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Alles voor de wetenschap: Aflevering 5: Ingrid Daubechies (Television production) (in Dutch). Belgium: Canvas. 2011-02-27. Event occurs at 21:40. Retrieved 2013-03-04. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. I. Daubechies, Orthonormal bases of compactly supported wavelets, Comm. Pure & Appl. Math., 41 (7), pp. 909-996, 1988.
  4. Personal entry, United States National Academy of Sciences
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The Emmy Noether Lectures". Association for Women in Mathematics. Retrieved 2011-05-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics". Northwestern University. Retrieved 2013-04-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Golden Jubilee Awards for Technological Innovation". IEEE Information Theory Society. Retrieved 2011-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Award Winners (chronological)". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved 2011-02-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Basic Research Award 2000 - Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Ingrid Daubechies". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved 2011-02-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "NAS Award in Mathematics". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 13 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved 2011-02-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "2011 Steele Prizes" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 58 (4): 593–596. April 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering". Franklin Institute. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.
  15. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

This article incorporates material from Ingrid Daubechies on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

External links