Michael Lacey’s Work With Numbers Has Changed The World

Michael Lacey is a man who spends his life working on things that 99% of the public does not understand. Furthermore, perhaps most people would consider his amazing accomplishments as, “nice but what difference does could it really make?”

It’s a good question that has a good answer. The fact is, Mike Lacey’s work has far-reaching effects on our lives and can make revolutionary differences in terms of technology we use every day.

That’s because Dr. Lacey is solving extremely complex mathematical problems that, once illuminated, can make miraculous achievements of technology possible. For example, one of Lacey’s major accomplishments was providing key insights into something called the Hilbert transform. Read more: Michael Lacey | Wikipedia

This area dovetails with what mathematicians call Fourier transforms. These are used in telecommunications systems, both for modulation and demodulation of voice signals. The “hissing” and “popping” noises that can disrupt signals can be cleaned up using Fourier analysis, to name just one application. This is more than just a convenience. For data to be transmitted with great accuracy – or sometimes even at all – the signal must be as pure and clean as possible.

Solving problems relating to Hilbert and Fourier transforms alone has probably translated into billions of dollars across the usage spectrum of the basic telecommunications we take for granted every day.

Lacey’s work on Hilbert transform earned him the Salem Prize, an honor in math perhaps comparable to the Academy Award in the motion picture business. Certainly, it made Michael Lacey a superstar on the world stage of math.

Michael Lacey receive his Ph.D. in math from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987. For his doctoral dissertation, he worked on another important area of mathematics called Banach spaces.

While at Indiana University he was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship. In 2004 he was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship while serving his tenure at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For most people Hilbert transforms, Banach spaces and “interated” logarithms are all but meaningless abstractions. But these important areas of math have deep implications for all of our lives – and that’s what Michael Lacey works on every day.

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