Student, University Michigan, 1943. Master of Arts, Harvard University, 1947. Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University, 1949.
Postdoctoral studies, Cambridge University, England, 1949. Postdoctoral studies, Sorbonne, Paris, 1950.
He is best known for his work with algebraic coding theory, probability theory, and distributed source coding. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he gained a Bachelor of Science at University of Michigan before joining the United States Army in World World War II, as a Sonic deception officer in the Ghost army. After post-doctoral work at the University of Cambridge and University of Sorbonne, he worked at the Mathematics Research Center at Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he pioneered work in algebraic coding theory on group codes, first published in the paper A Class of Binary Signaling Alphabets.
Here, he also worked along with other information theory giants such as Claude Shannon and Richard Hamming.
He also proved the possibility of singular detection, a perhaps unintuitive result. He is also known for Slepian"s lemma in probability theory (1962), and for discovering a fundamental result in distributed source coding called Slepian–Wolf coding with Jack Keil Wolf (1973).
He later joined the University of Hawaii. His father was Joseph Slepian, also a scientist
Slepian"s joint work with H.J. Landau and H.O. Pollak on discrete prolate spheroidal wave functions and sequences (DPSWF, DPSS) eventually led to the naming of the sequences as '".
The naming suggestion was provided by Bob Parker of Scripp"s Institute of Oceanography, who suggested that 'discrete prolate spheroidal sequences" was a 'mouthful". This work was fundamental to the development of the multitaper, where the discrete form are used as an integral component.
Served with United States Army, 1943-1946, European Theatre of Operations. Fellow Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (editor Proceedings 1969-1970, Alexander Graham Bell award 1981), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Mathematics Statistics. Member National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy Arts and Sciences.
Married Janice Dorothea Berek, April 18, 1950. Children: Steven Louis, Don Joseph, Anne Maria.