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Antoni Zygmund

  • National Medal of Science
  • Mathematics And Computer Science
For outstanding contributions to Fourier analysis and its applications to partial differential equations and other branches of analysis, and for his creation and leadership of the strongest school of analytical research in the contemporary mathematical world.

Antoni Zygmund is famous in the field of mathematics for his work on harmonic analysis, and being able to explain the vibration of objects through mathematics to analyze periodic functions.

This type of analysis is critical for designing spacecraft, laser holography and crystallography, the study of crystal structures. Zygmund is credited with his contributions to Fourier analysis, the analysis of complicated

waveforms expressed as a series of sinusoidal functions. The frequencies create a harmonic series. Zygmund was a professor at University of Chicago for 45 years and his teachings are captured in the textbook “Trigonometric Series,” first published in 1935. The textbook is still used today. In total, he authored six books and wrote more than 180 mathematical papers.

Zygmund began his career in Warsaw, Poland with a doctorate of mathematics under his belt by the time he was just 23. Zygmund, who served in the Polish Army, was forced to flee the country in 1939 with his family as German forces took over.

By Chrstine Ayala