Ronald Coifman wins 2018 Schock Prize in Mathematics

Ronald Coifman posing with a computer.
Coifman with his wavelet packets, one of his contributions to computer science that won him the National Medal of Science in 1999.

Yale mathematician and computer scientist Ronald Coifman has won the 2018 Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics, one of the highest honors in the field of mathematics. He will receive the award at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts on Oct. 15.

Coifman is being recognized for “his fundamental contributions to pure and applied harmonic analysis.” The Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences, the awarding body for this prize, writes of his scholarship:

Ronald Coifman has made outstanding contributions to harmonic analysis. He has proven several important classical results and has recently dedicated his research to applied harmonic analysis and related areas. Along with Yves Meyer, he has played a crucial role in the development of the theory of wavelets, which has important applications in image compression, signal processing, and computer vision. He and his collaborators have recently initiated diffusion geometry, bringing the opportunity to create methods for finding structures in large data sets.”

Coifman is the Phillips Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Yale. He is currently developing analysis tools for spectrometric diagnostics and hyperspectral imaging. In 1999, he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions in both pure mathematics and computer science.

The four annual Schock Prizes were established through the bequest of Rolf Schock upon his death in 1986. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music together bestow one prize each year in four fields: logics and philosophy, mathematics, visual arts, and musical arts. Each prize is worth 400,000 Swedish krona.

Göran K. Hansson, chair of the Rolf Schock Foundation and secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said of this year’s laureates: “I am particularly delighted to highlight a prize that so clearly unites science and art, entirely in accordance with Rolf Schock’s will. This year's laureates demonstrate the breadth of the work of the awarding academies. They have all been incredibly creative and leaders in their fields.”