Jacob Palis is a Brazilian mathematician and professor. He obtained a degree in Engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Ph.D in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1973 he has held a permanent position as professor at the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, from which he was director between 1993 and 2003. He is the President of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World since 2007. He is also a foreign member of several academies of sciences, including the American and French academies and he is currently the President of the Academia Brasileira de Ciências. He was also president of the International Mathematical Union from 1999 to 2002. Palis has received numerous medals and prizes.
He has 42 Ph.D students, including several current professors of the Universities of Lisbon and Porto, and he was recently elected foreign member of the Academia de Ciências de Lisboa. In 2010 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for his fundamental contributions in the mathematical theory of dynamical systems that has been the basis for many applications in various scientific disciplines (such as in the study of oscillations). His research interests are mainly dynamical systems and differential equations. Some themes are: global stability and hyperbolicity, bifurcations, attractors and chaotic systems.