Donoho and Johnstone (1992a) proposed a method for reconstructing an unknown function f on [0; 1] from noisy data di = f(ti)+ zi, iid i =0;:::;n 1, ti = i=n, zi N(0; 1). The reconstruction fn ^ is de ned in the wavelet domain by translating all the empirical wavelet coe cients of d towards 0 by an amount p 2 log(n) = p n. We prove two results about that estimator. [Smooth]: With high probability ^ fn is at least as smooth as f, in any of a wide variety of smoothness measures. [Adapt]: The estimator comes nearly as close in mean square to f as any measurable estimator can come, uniformly over balls in each of two broad scales of smoothness classes. These two properties are unprecedented in several ways. Our proof of these results develops new facts about abstract statistical inference and its connection with an optimal recovery model.