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Prominent Female Mathematician to Deliver van Winter Memorial Lecture

By Whitney Harder

(Feb. 24, 2015) – Ingrid Daubechies, the first female full professor of mathematics at Princeton and first woman president of the International Mathematical Union, will deliver the 2015 van Winter Memorial Lecture in Mathematical Physics at the University of Kentucky Thursday, Feb. 26.

Her lecture, "The Master's Hand: Can Image Analysis Detect the Hand of the Master?" will take place from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in Room 155 of the Chemistry-Physics Building.

Daubechies, the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University, will describe wavelets, a mathematical tool used for the analysis and compression of images (including for digital cinema). She will also explain how wavelets have been used recently for the study of paintings by Van Gogh, Goossen van der Weyden, Gauguin, and Giotto.

Daubechies obtained her doctoral degree in theoretical physics in 1980, and worked at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel until 1987. At the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in New York, 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. This breakthrough enabled wavelet theory to enter the realm of digital signal processing.

In July 1987, Daubechies joined the AT&T Bell Laboratories' New Jersey facility at Murray Hill. From 1994 to 2010, she was a professor of mathematics at Princeton University where she directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics.

Professor Daubechies has been awarded the Louis Empain Prize for Physics in 1984, and the American Mathematical Society (AMS) Steele Prize for Exposition for her book “Ten Lectures on Wavelets” in 1994. In 1997, she was awarded the AMS Ruth Lyttle Satter prize, and in the following year Professor Daubechies was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences.

In 2000, she became the first woman to receive the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics for excellence in published mathematical research. Among other accolades, Debauchies was also the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union from 2011-2014.

The van Winter Memorial Lecture honors the memory of Clasine van Winter, who held a professorship in the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1968 to her retirement in 1999. Professor van Winter specialized in the study of multiparticle quantum systems; her contributions include the Weinberg-van Winter equations for a multiparticle quantum system, derived independently by van Winter and Professor Steven Weinberg, and the so-called HVZ Theorem, which characterizes the essential spectrum of multiparticle quantum systems. van Winter died in October of 2000.