The Björn Jawerth Memorial Site

Life’s Work

Björn was passionate about mathematics. He read math books for pure enjoyment, and he found such beauty there.

After receiving master’s degrees in mathematics, statistics, technical physics and electrical engineering, Björn earned his Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics from Lund Institute for Technology (Lund, Sweden) in 1974, completing at five-year program in less than three years. He was a Professor at Lund Institute for Technology before moving to the United States in 1980 to teach at Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).   In the fall of 1982, he joined the Department of Mathematics at Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri), where he became a Full Professor and where he completed and published his work on wavelets (the phi-transform).  In 1988, he moved on to the University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina) where he founded and directed the Industrial Mathematics Initiative, a cross-disciplinary research institute dedicated to solving advanced mathematical problems arising in industry.  He also served as a Visiting Professor at various universities in the United States and Sweden, while contributing to diverse academic projects and acting as a thesis advisor to a number of graduate students.

Though Björn had many achievements throughout his academic career, it was being a founder of the field of wavelet mathematics that was among his most notable accomplishments.  During the early 1980’s, he was one of the originators and principal investigators that developed this branch of mathematics. Wavelets became very important in the field of multimedia compression and information processing, and it is one of the most widely researched areas of electrical engineering, computer science, and mathematics.

Although he chose to depart from full-time academic life, he did not leave behind wavelets, mathematics, or his passion for learning; Björn always drew on his deep knowledge of math and science as he pursued his dreams of innovation. In 1991, he founded Summus, Ltd., a technology and video compression company that was awarded grants and contracts to work with entities ranging from the U.S. Department of Defense to McDonnell Douglas to Fujifilm.

Working within the tech field, Björn was keenly aware of the rapid changes in mobile technology. As often was the case, he could see where the technology was headed years before it got there. From this insight, 5 examples, inc. was born and built on a foundation of innovation and beautiful thought.

His legacy will live on in his many publications, his patents, and his formative contributions to the fields of mathematics, wavelets, and mobile technology.

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