MacArthur Fellows Program

Jack Wisdom

Physicist | Class of 1994

Cambridge, Massachusetts
41 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1994

About Jack's Work

Jack Wisdom is a physicist whose work has advanced the understanding of solar system dynamics.

Introducing new methods to the study of dynamical problems, Wisdom has obtained important and widely cited results that create new insights about order and predictability in the laws of nature.  His research interests in solar system dynamics include the long-term evolution of orbits, spins of planets and natural satellites, qualitative behavior of dynamical systems, chaotic behavior, and the dynamics of planetary rings.  Using specially designed computing equipment and innovative numerical techniques, he has accumulated extensive observational and computational evidence to support his theoretical work.  Wisdom’s interests also extend into mathematical physics and include classical and quantum mechanics, differential geometry, and general relativity.


Wisdom is a professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1984.  He is the co-author of the textbook Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics (2001).  His articles have appeared in such publications as Science, Icarus, Nature, and the Astronomical Journal.

Wisdom received a B.S. (1976) from Rice University and a Ph.D. (1981) from the California Institute of Technology.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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