WFU to host lecture by Princeton mathematician

Ingrid Daubechies, a Princeton University mathematics professor, will lecture on the principles and applications of wavelets at Wake Forest University on April 12 at 8 p.m. in Calloway Hall, Room 17.

Daubechies’ talk, “Surfing with Wavelets,” is the 1999-2000 Gentry Lecture.

Wavelets are a new approach used in the analysis of sounds and images. For example, the wavelet model can provide a mathematical analog to a music score.

For images, “wavelets allow you to first describe the coarse features with a broad brush, and then later to fill in details,” said Daubechies. “This is similar to zooming in with a camera. First, you can see that the scene is one of shrubs in a garden, then you concentrate on one shrub and see that it bears berries, then, by zooming in on one branch, you find that this is a raspberry bush.”

The wavelet model is sometimes called a “mathematical microscope.”

In a practical application, the FBI uses wavelets for the compression of its vast library of fingerprint data.

Daubechies earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physics from the Free University in Brussels. In 1981, she came to the United States as an employee of Bell Laboratories. She became a full professor of mathematics at Princeton in 1993 and since 1997 has been the director of the university’s Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics.

The Ivey and Nell Gentry Lectureship was established in 1987 by gifts from relatives of Ivey and Nell Gentry. The purpose of the lectureship is to bring to campus annually an outstanding scholar in mathematics. The lecture is hosted by Wake Forest’s department of mathematics and computer science.

Daubechies will present a second lecture, “Quantizing Redundant Representations,” at 4 p.m. on April 13 in Calloway Hall, Room 17. The talk will be more technical.

The events are free and open to the public. They are part of Wake Forest’s yearlong celebration of “Science and Technology: The Next Millennium.” For more information, call 758-5354.

Categories: Events, Speakers