FALMOUTH – Gerald E. Sacks, 86, a professor emeritus of mathematics at M.I.T. and Harvard, died Oct. 4, 2019, at his home in Falmouth, after a long illness. He was born in Brooklyn N.Y., and attended Brooklyn Technical High School. He interrupted his college studies at Cornell University to serve in the U.S. Army from 1953-1956 and returned to Cornell where he received his Ph.D. in 1961. His work in recursion theory helped to shape the development of the subject over the past 50 years. In 1994 the Association of Symbolic Logic established the Sacks Prize which is awarded annually to the most outstanding doctoral dissertation in mathematical logic that year.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret D. Philbrick; his four children, Matthew S. Sacks, Natalie R. Sacks M.D., Paul M. Sacks, and Ella Raposo-Sacks; three step-children, John W. Philbrick, Katherine P. Vorenberg, and Louise Philbrick; five grandchildren, Jacob S. MacGregor, Daniel, Kevin, and Harrison Philbrick, and Emma R. Vorenberg; and his brother, Michael H. Sacks M.D. A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2020.

The family asks that any contributions be made to the Portland Symphony Orchestra or the Hospice of Southern Maine.