Duke math professor wins $1.5 million award

A Duke University math professor has received a $1.5 million grant for her groundbreaking work on a mathematical tool that compresses images, a key to consumer communication products.

Ingrid Daubechies received the Math + X Investigator Award from the New York-based Simons Foundation, which comes with $1.5 million. She is the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke.

Her work on wavelets has far-reaching impact, including the storage of photos on computers and phones. Wavelets are tools used to analyze signals and compress images. The award will support her research in the next five years.

Daubechies’ work bridges mathematics and the fields of electrical and computer engineering. She has also collaborated with artists, historians and conservators to restore ancient works of art and identify forgeries.

The Math + X Investigator award provides research funds to professors at American and Canadian universities to encourage collaborations between mathematicians and researchers in other fields.

A native of Belgium, Daubechies was the first woman to receive the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics, in 2000. She’s a former MacArthur Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow and member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill