Jacob Palis

Brazilian Academy of Sciences
Jacob Palis

President, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)

Member, IAC Board

Jacob Palis is a leading mathematician in the field of dynamical systems with an unusually broad and profound contribution to the cause of science around the globe. He is considered one of the founders of the modern theory of dynamical systems and, to some, the most influential figure nowadays in this field. His fundamental work on structural stability in the sixties brought the theory to maturity, and influenced much of the progress in subsequent decades. In another major line of research, he pioneered the study of the mechanisms through which stability is lost when experimental parameters vary, and the role fractal dimensions play in such bifurcation mechanisms. Along this line, he again provided fundamental contribution, shared with co-authors, and a unique global vision of dynamics. Indeed, more recently, he has proposed a remarkable set of conjectures, the so called Palis program, whose solution would provide a new global perspective to dynamics: typically a dynamical system would have a finite number of attractors and their basins of attraction covers the whole space of events except for a zero measure set. This program has been enormously successful in generating a huge scientific activity, culminating in several plenary and a dozen invited talks at the International Congress of Mathematicians at Zurich, Berlin and Beijing. Besides his lasting contribution to mathematics, he has also advised 40 PhD students, several of them world class mathematicians. As President of the International Mathematical Union IMU, he led the international mathematical community to fully support the creation of the Abel Prize by the Norwegian Government and he was very influential in the creation of the Ramanujan Prize by the International Center for Theoretical Physics - ICTP. Through the years he has been enthusiastic about the role of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World – TWAS, in contributing to forging good science and technology in the whole world, including the least privileged countries.

He has been awarded the Prizes University of Brazil (1962), Moinho Santista (1976), Third World Academy of Sciences (1989), National Brazilian Prize for Science and Technology (1990), Brazilian National Order of Scientific Merit (1994) and the Interamerican Prize for Science (1994)