Yves Meyer, a French Jewish mathematician, won the Abel Prize on Tuesday for his work on the “wavelet theory,” which has been applied in data compression, noise reduction, medical imaging and digital cinema.
Meyer, 77, grew up in Tunis. He studied at the École normale supérieure de la rue d’Ulm (ENS) in Paris and got his PhD from the University of Strasbourg in 1966.
Described as an “intellectual nomad” and a “visionary,” Meyer worked and taught at various research centers until 2008, when he formally retired. He is still a professor emeritus at the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay in France. He is also a member of the French Academy of Science and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Abel Prize has been referred to as the math Nobel prize, which has no category for mathematics. The Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters has issued the award each year since 2003.
The King of Norway will hand Meyer the prize, which comes with an award worth roughly $715,000 on May 23 in Oslo.
Meyer is not the first French Jew to receive an international award for his outstanding contribution to mathematics. In 1966, the late Alexander Grothendiek won the Fields Medal, which is given every four years to mathematicians under age 40.