| Alex Grossmann (Alexander, Alexandre) was born in the city of Zagreb, where he completed his studies of Physics at the University of Zagreb, and earned his PhD in 1955, at that time employed at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Croatia's capital. He spent the period between 1955 and 1965 in the USA, working among others at the Insitutute of Advanced Study, Princeton, and at the Courant Insitutue of Mathematics, NY. Since 1965 he was employed at the University of Marseille in France. This Croatian-French mathematician is considered as a father of Wavelet Theory, due to his groundbreaking joint work with French geophysicist Jean Morlet in 1984. He was a thesis advisor to distinguished Belgian physicist and mathematician Ingrid Daubechies.
Summary. Alex Grossmann (Alexander, Alexandre) was born in the city of Zagreb, where he completed his studies of Physics at the University of Zagreb, and earned his PhD in 1955, at that time employed at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Croatia's capital. He spent the period between 1955 and 1965 in the USA, working among others at the Insitutute of Advanced Study, Princeton, and at the Courant Insitutue of Mathematics, NY. Since 1965 he was employed at the University of Marseille in France. This Croatian-French mathematician is considered as a father of Wavelet Theory, due to his groundbreaking joint work with French geophysicist Jean Morlet in 1984. He was a thesis advisor to distinguished Belgian physicist and mathematician Ingrid Daubechies.
Alex Grossmann (1930-2019)
Born in 1930 in Croatia's capital Zagreb, Alex Grossmann completed his study of Physics at the University of Zagreb in 1952, and earned his PhD in Physics in 1955 at the Ruđer Bošković Institute. Both his diploma work and PhD were completed under Ivan Supek. (Supek completed his PhD under Werner Heisenberg in 1940 in Leipzig, Germany.) Grossmann was employed as an assistant at the Institute of Physics in Zagreb (as well as then young Gaja Alaga and Vladimir Glaser, distinguished Croatian physicists).
Alex Grossmann in 1950, when he was a student of Physics at the University of Zagreb.
Then he moved to the United States, where he was employed at the Brandeis University near Boston, at the New York University (Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences), and at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, until 1964.
After his one-year sojourn at IHES (Institute des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques) in Bures-sur-Yvette in France, at the request of Daniel Kastler he started his very fruitful work at the University of Marseille in 1966, in the fields of Mathematical Physics and Wavelet Theory.
Alex Grossman in 1978.
Alex Grossmann in 1980. Photo from Centre de Physique Theorique, Marseille.
In 1980, he started his important collaboration with French geophysicist Jean Morlet, which has resulted in laying down the mathematical foundations of Wavelet Theory in 1984. Their work is cited in enormously many papers and books, covering practically all scientific areas imaginable (see the above link). In 2020 only, their joint work (published 36 years earlier in SIAM Journal of Mathematical Analysis) was cited in nearly 120 references! (Here, SIAM = Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.) The overall number of citations until May 2021 for this paper only was 1990 (information by ac. Andrej Dujella, based on the Web of Science).
Alex Grossmann at a conference.
In 1986, Alex Grossmann founded and directed international Wavelet Research Group (in French, GDR "Ondelettes").
Alex Grossmann in 1990s.
In 1997, an international conference was organized by the Center of Theoretical Physics in Marseille in his honor:
Perspectives in Mathematical Physics:
Conference in honor of Alex Grossmann; see [PDF].
In 1997, Alex Grossman obtained a Special Prize (Prix Special) from the French Physical Society.
Since 1993, his interests were oriented towards Mathematical Biology (genome problems and interplay with Computer Science). In 2000, he delivered a plenary lecture at the 2nd Congress of Croatian Mathematicians in his native city of Zagreb, upon the invitation of Professor Hrvoje Šikić. The title of his talk was "Comparisons of biological sequences: some tools from linear algebra."
Grossmann was a member of Advisory Board of Glasnik matematički (published by Croatian Mathematical Society in Zagreb) in the period of 2002-2006
In 2009, Alex Grossmann was elected a member of Academia Europea, in section Physics and Engineering Sciences. His research area was indicated as Mathematical Physics.
In 2019, an international conference was organized in Orsay near Paris, in honor of Alex Grossmann and Yves Meyer: Wavelets and Beyond - A celebration for Alexandre Grossmann and Yves Meyer.
Alex Grossman's father was Jewish (Maks Grossmann, distinguished Croatian medical expert), and his mother was Croatian (Marija Ivana Horvat; her father was Aleksandar Horvat, and it seems that his name was given to her son with Maks).
Wavelets, published by Springer-Verlag,
based on the conference organized in Marseille in 1987.
A wide range of mathematical contributions of Alex Grossmann can be grouped into the following three main areas:
A result of his work at the Center of Theoretical Physics in Marseille (CPT - Centre de Physique Theorique) is that the logo of CPT was chosen to be dedicated to wavelets, an area in which this institution became universally recognizable:
Ingrid Daubechies, distinguished Belgian physicist and mathematician, one of the founders of Wavelet Theory, delivered a lecture in 2020 dedicated to Alex Grossmann. He was her thesis advisor in Theoretical Physics, along with Jean Reignier. She defened her PhD in 1980.
We mention a joint paper of Alex Grossmann with Ingrid Daubechies (first female president of International Mathematical Union) and Yves Meyer (recipient of the prestigious Abel Prize in 2017):
In early 1980s, Alex Grossmann was visited in Marseille by then young Croatian mathematician Andro Mikelić (1956-2020), distinguished expert in Mathematical Physics. He spoke fluently his native Croatian language until the end of his life. He was a fascinating polyglot.
Behind the Scenes of the Wavelet Revolution
INGRID DAUBECHIES - LETTERS TO YVES MEYER
With an introduction by Yves Meyer
Mathematical Sciences Publishers,
University of California, Berkeley, 2020
Yves Meyer in his Introduction wrote the following (pp. 7 and 8):
... The story I am telling now began on January 15, 1985, when I met Alex Grossmann in Marseilles for the first time. A month earlier Jean Lascoux, a physicist and a colleague at Ecole Polytechnique, had given me a fascinating preprint by Grossmann and Morlet. This preprint was so attractive that I could not resist traveling to Marseilles. I spent three days talking with Alex and I soon became his disciple. I shared his values and ethics. Among these values I would single out an intense curiosity, a great humility, and profound confidence in others and an outstanding capacity for friendship. Alex became a spiritual father and a scientific guide. ...
Source [PDF]. Many thanks to Professor Hrvoje Šikić for this information