Attribution 1 Photograph courtesy of the MIT Museum. http://libraries.mit.edu/sites/mithistory/institute/offices/office-of-the-mit-president/jerome-bert-wiesner-1915-1994/
Jerome Wiesner was born 1915 in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Dearborn, Michigan. He attended Dearborn’s public schools and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in engineering and mathematics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1937. He continued at Michigan and earned both his Masters (1938) and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (1940). In 1940 he was named Chief Engineer for the Library of Congress, and toured with Alan Lomax throughout the south recording folk music and African American musicians. In 1942, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Lab, were he headed project Cadillac, a forerunner of the current airborne warning and control system (AWACS). In 1945, he was named group leader for Los Alamos National Lab, where he helped develop the electronic components of the nuclear bombs tests in the Bikini Atoll. In 1946, he returned to MIT, and held various positions at the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), the successor to the Radiation Lab, and was ultimately named director of RLE in 1952, a post he held until 1962, when he was named an Institute Professor. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy tapped him to be Special Assistant to the President on Science and Technology. There he worked on such policy issues as military technology, disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and scientific education and research. After Kennedy’s assassination, he briefly continued to serve under President Lyndon B. Johnson before returning to MIT, where he was named Dean of Science. In 1966, he was named Provost of the University; in 1971, he was named President, a role he would fill until 1980, when he retired.
Dr. Wiesner was a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Philosophical Society, and the Acoustical Society of America. Throughout his career he received numerous professional awards, including the President's Certificate of Merit, the nation's second highest civilian award for outstanding service to the country, the University of Michigan's Sesquicentennial Award, the IEEE Founder's Medal, and the Bronze Beaver, the highest award given by the MIT Alumni Association. He died in Waterford in 1994. In the humanities lecture series of Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, Professor Wiesner talks about using science for public ends.
Wiesner, Jerome. Where Science and Politics Meet. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965.
Chayes, Abram, Jerome Weisner, and Hans Bethe. ABM: An Evaluation of the Decision to Deploy an Antiballistic Missile System. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
Hylton, Jeremy. ” Jerome Wiesner, 13th President, Is Dead at 79.” The Tech, Online Edition. 25 October 1994. 10 June 2011. http://tech.mit.edu/V114/N51/wiesner.51n.html
Jerome Wiesner. 2011. 10 June 2011. http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/Biographies-and-Profiles/Jerome-Wiesner.aspx
“President emeritus Jerome Wiesner is dead at 79.” MIT News. 26 October 1994. 10 June 2011. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1994/weisner-obit-1026.html