Jack Wisdom

Professor of Planetary Science

Contact Info:

Office Phone






Brenda Carbone 617.253.3993

Expert in planetary dynamics and chaotic behavior, investigating the movements and interactions of solar system bodies.

Jack Wisdom’s research interests include the long-term evolution of the orbits and spins of the planets and natural satellites, qualitative behavior of dynamical systems, and chaotic behavior.

Wisdom earned his BS in physics from Rice University in 1976, followed by a PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1981. He joined the MIT faculty in 1984. Wisdom is a coauthor, with Gerald Jay Sussman, Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, of two books: “Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics” and “Functional Differential Geometry.”

Over his long career, Wisdom has garnered peer recognition for his work, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1994, he earned a MacArthur Fellowship. He has been a Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech, a Visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley, and a Visiting Meyerhoff Professor at the Weizmann Institute. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has recognized Wisdom’s work throughout his career, including the 1986 Urey Prize of the Division of Planetary Science, the 1987 Warner Prize, and the 2002 Brouwer Award, a career award of the Division for Dynamical Astronomy of the AAS. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society, and in 2020 was named a Legacy Fellow of the AAS.

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2020 • Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society
  • 2008 • Member, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 • Dirk Brouwer Award, AAS Division for Dynamical Astronomy
  • 1994 • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship
  • 1992 • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences