Michael Efroimsky

US Naval Observatory
Washington DC 20392


/ to send a message, remove NOSPAM /

Michael Efroimsky

Curriculum Vitae


  • Celestial Mechanics

  • Relativity


    Ph.D., University of Oxford, UK (1995)


    Research Scientist

    US Naval Observatory, Washington DC 20392.


    2001 - 2002

    . University of Minnesota, Institute for Mathematics. - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    1997 - 2000

    . Harvard University, Department of Physics. - Visiting Research Scientist


    . Harvard University, the Core Program. - Lecturer


    . Tufts University, Department of Physics. - Lecturer


    Since 2009 . Member of Commissions A3 , A4 and F2 of the International Astronomical Union

    2008 - 2009 . Chair of the Division on Dynamical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society

    2007 - 2008 . Vice Chair of the Division on Dynamical Astronomy

    Chair of the Local Organizing Committee
    Symposium No 261 of the International Astronomical Union, April 2009

    Chair of the Local Organizing Committee
    Meeting No 40 of the Division on Dynamical Astronomy, May 2009

    Chair of the Scientific Program Committee
    Meeting No 39 of the Division on Dynamical Astronomy, April 2008


    2008 . Outstanding Referee Citation, Geophysical Research Letters, AGU
    2006 . Best Paper Award, Conference "New Trends in Astrodynamics", Princeton 2006
    2001 - 2002 . IMA Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Minnesota
    1993 - 1995 . Dulverton Graduate Scholarship, Oxford University, UK
    1991 - 1993 . Amelia Jackson Graduate Scholarship, Oxford University, UK
    1990 - 1991 . Soros Foundation Scholarship, Oxford University, UK


    Princeton 1994, Cornell 1994, Tufts 1994, Harvard 1998, Toronto 1998, Princeton 1999, Harvard 1999, Boston University 1999, Boston College 1999, Wellesley 2000, Wisconsin Madison 2000, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Centre 2000, Deutchen Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) 2001, Minnesota 2001, Harvard 2002, UCLA 2002, U of Maryland College Park 2002, US Naval Observatory 2002, Harvard - CfA 2003, US Naval Observatory 2003, Princeton - IAS 2003, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Centre 2004, University College Dublin 2005, Observatoire de Paris 2007, Observatoire Royal de Belgique 2007, DTM - Carnegie Institution of Washington 2012, U of Maryland College Park 2013, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Centre 2013


    Advances in Space Research
    Astronomy and Astrophysics
    The Astronomical Journal
    The Astrophysical Journal
    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
    Earth, Moon and Planets
    Foundations of Physics
    Geophysical Research Letters
    The International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
    The Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer (JQSRT)
    The Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets (JGR E)
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS)
    Planetary and Space Science
    Pure and Applied Geophysics
    Regular and Chaotic Dynamics


    Scientific Editor of the De Gruyter series of books on mathematical physics
    Co-edited a special issue of the "Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy" journal


    Tufts University: Advanced Quantum Mechanics (graduate)
    Analytical Mechanics (undergraduate)
    Electricity and Magnetism (undergraduate)
    Introduction to Planetary Astronomy (undergrade, nonscience-major)
    University of Massachusetts : Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics (graduate)
    Suffolk University: Quantum Mechanics (undergraduate)
    Classical Mechanics (undergraduate)
    Modern Physics (undergraduate)
    Introduction to Physical Science (undergraduate)
    Introduction to Planetary Astronomy (undergraduate, non-science majors)


    Harvard University : Advanced Quantum Mechanics (graduate)
    Classical Electrodynamics (graduate)
    Physics I (PreMed undergraduate)
    Physics of Waves (undergraduate)
    Chance, Necessity, and Order (undergraduate, non-science majors)



    Sergei Kopeikin, Michael Efroimsky, and George Kaplan
    Relativistic Celestial Mechanics of the Solar System.

    860 pages, Wiley-VCH, Berlin 2011
    ISBN: 978-3-527-40856-6


    Michael Efroimsky
    Tidal viscosity of Enceladus

    Icarus, Vol. 300 : 223 - 226 (2018)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Dissipation in a tidally perturbed body librating in longitude

    Icarus, Vol. ... : .... - .... (2018)

    Julien Frouard and Michael Efroimsky
    Precession Relaxation of Viscoelastic Oblate Rotators

    Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society of London, Vol. 473 : 728 - 746 (2018)

    Julien Frouard and Michael Efroimsky
    Tides in a body librating about a spin-orbit resonance. Generalisation of the Darwin-Kaula theory

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 129 : 177 - 214 (2017)

    Julien Frouard, Alice C. Quillen, Michael Efroimsky, and David Gianella
    Numerical Simulation of Tidal Evolution of a Viscoelastic Body Modelled with a Mass-Spring Network

    Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society of London, Vol. 458 : 2890 - 2901 (2016)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Tidal Evolution of Asteroidal Binaries. Ruled by Viscosity. Ignorant of Rigidity

    The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 150 : 98 (2015) , ERRATUM: AJ 151 : 130 (2016)

    Michael Efroimsky and Valeri Makarov
    Tidal dissipation in a homogeneous spherical body. I. Methods

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 795 : 6 (2014)

    Valeri Makarov and Michael Efroimsky
    Tidal dissipation in a homogeneous spherical body. II. Three examples: Io, Mercury, and Kepler-10 b

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 795 : 7 (2014)

    Benoit Noyelles, Julien Frouard, Valeri Makarov and Michael Efroimsky
    Spin-orbit evolution of Mercury revisited.

    Icarus, Vol. 241, pp. 26 - 44 (2014)

    Valeri Makarov and Michael Efroimsky
    No pseudosynchronous rotation for terrestrial planets and moons.

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 764 : 27 (2013)

    Michael Efroimsky and Valeri Makarov
    Tidal Friction and Tidal Lagging. Applicability Limitations of a Popular Formula for the Tidal Torque.

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 764 : 26 (2013)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Tidal dissipation compared to seismic dissipation: in small bodies, in earths, and in superearths.

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 746 : 150 (2012)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Bodily tides near spin-orbit resonances.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 112, pp. 283 - 330. (2012)

    Valeri Makarov, Ciprian Berghea, and Michael Efroimsky
    Dynamical evolution and spin-orbit resonances of potentially habitable exoplanets. The case of GJ 581d.

    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 761 : 83 (2012)

    James G. Williams and Michael Efroimsky
    Bodily tides near the 1:1 spin-orbit resonance. Correction to Goldreich's dynamical model

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 114, pp. 387 - 414. (2012)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Justification of the two-bulge method in the theory of bodily tides.

    Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 544 : A133 (2012)

    Julie Castillo-Rogez, Michael Efroimsky, and Valery Lainey
    The tidal history of Iapetus. Spin dynamics in the light of a refined dissipation model.

    Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, Vol. 116, E09008. (2011)

    Michael Efroimsky and James G. Williams
    Tidal torques. A critical review of some techniques.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 104, pp. 257 - 289. (2009)

    Michael Efroimsky and Valery Lainey
    The Physics of Bodily Tides in Terrestrial Planets and the Appropriate Scales of Dynamical Evolution.

    Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, Vol. 112, p. E12003 (2007)

    Pini Gurfil, Antonio Elipe, William Tangren, and Michael Efroimsky
    The Serret-Andoyer Formalism in Rigid-Body Dynamics: I. Symmetries and Perturbations.
    Regular and Chaotic Dynamics, Vol. 12, pp. 389 - 425 (2007)

    Michael Efroimsky and Alberto Escapa
    The theory of canonical perturbations applied to attitude dynamics and to the Earth rotation.
    Osculating and nonosculating Andoyer variables.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 98, pp. 251 - 283 (2007)

    Pini Gurfil, Valery Lainey, and Michael Efroimsky
    Long-term evolution of orbits about a precessing oblate planet. 3. A semianalytical and a purely numerical approach.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 99, pp. 261 - 292. (2007)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Long-term evolution of orbits about a precessing oblate planet. 2. The case of variable precession.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy. Vol. 96, pp. 259 - 288 (2006)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Long-term evolution of orbits about a precessing oblate planet: 1. The case of uniform precession.

    Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, Vol. 91, pp. 75 - 108 (2005)

    Arsen Hajian, et al.
    Initial Results from the USNO Dispersed Fourier Transform Spectrograph.

    Astrophysical Journal, Volume 661, pp. 616 - 633. (2007)

    Kenneth Johnston, et al.
    The Origins Billions Star Survey: Galactic Explorer.

    The Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific." Volume 118, pp. 1428 - 1442. (2006)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Gauge Freedom in Orbital Mechanics.
    ANYAS, Vol. 1065, pp. 346-374 (2005)

    Michael Efroimsky
    On the theory of canonical perturbations and its application to Earth rotation.
    Talk at the conference ``Journees 2004" held at l'Observatoire de Paris on 20 - 22 September 2004.

    Michael Efroimsky and Peter Goldreich
    Gauge symmetry of the N-body problem of Celestial Mechanics.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 415, pp. 1187 - 1199. (2004)

    Michael Efroimsky and Peter Goldreich
    Gauge symmetry of the N-body problem in the Hamilton-Jacobi approach.
    Journal of Mathematical Physics, Vol. 44, pp. 5958 - 5977. (2003)

    William Newman and Michael Efroimsky
    The Method of Variation of Parameters and Multiple Time Scales in Orbital Mechanics. ,
    Chaos, Vol. 13, pp. 476 - 485 (2003)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Implicit gauge symmetry emerging in the N-body problem of celestial mechanics.
    Preprint. astro-ph/0212245,

    Michael Efroimsky
    Equations for the Keplerian Elements: Hidden Symmetry.
    Preprint IMA, February 2002

    Michael Efroimsky
    Euler, Jacobi, and Missions to Comets and Asteroids Advances in Space Research, Vol.29, p. 725 - 734 (2002)

    Michael Efroimsky, Alexander Lazarian, and Vladislav Sidorenko
    Complex Rotation with Internal Dissipation. Applications to Cosmic-Dust Alignment and to Wobbling Comets and Asteroids.
    Invited Review. Published in: "Recent Research Developments in Astrophysics," Research Signpost, India 2002

    Michael Efroimsky
    Mechanical Alignment of Suprathermal Paramagnetic Cosmic-Dust Granules: the Cross-section Mechanism.
    The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 575, pp. 886 - 899 (2002)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Relaxation of Wobbling Asteroids and Comets. Theoretical Problems, Perspectives of Experimental Observation
    Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 49, pp. 937 - 955 (2001)

    Michael Efroimsky
    Precession of a Freely Rotating Body. Inelastic Relaxation in the Vicinity of Poles , astro-ph/9909220, Journal of Mathematical Physics, Vol. 41, p. 1854 - 1888 (2000)

    Michael Efroimsky and Alexander Lazarian
    Inelastic Dissipation in Wobbling Asteroids and Comets , astro-ph/9811042, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society of London (MNRAS), Vol. 311, p. 269 - 278 (2000)

    Inelastic Dissipation in a Freely Rotating Body. Application to Cosmic-Dust Alignment. , astro-ph/9811040 , Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society of London (MNRAS), Vol. 303, p. 673 - 684 (1999) /with A. Lazarian/

    Cross-Section Alignment of Oblate Grains , astro-ph/9607137, Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 466, p. 274 (1996) /with A. Lazarian/

    Mechanical Alignment of Prolate Cosmic-Dust Grains: Cross-Section Alignment , Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 472, p. 240 (1996) /with A. Lazarian and J. Ozik/

    Gravity-Waves in Vacuum and in Media. Taking the Nonlinearity into Account , Phys. Rev. D, Vol. 49, p. 6512 (1994)

    What is Observable in the Perturbative Approach to Gravity? , Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol. 10, p. 2723 (1993) /with A. Lazarian/

    Gravity waves in vacuum and in media: the wave equation, the role of nonlinearity, the stress-energy tensor and the low-frequency cut-off , Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol. 9, p. 2601 (1992)


    From Osip Mandelstam.
    Translation by Michael Efroimsky

    For the roaring glory of ages to come,
    For the sake of mankind's high tribes
    I'm deprived of my place at the feast of my clan;
    Of my dignity, honour and rights.

    I am not of wolves' breed, but this wolfhound age
    Stalked my path, and it clutched at my throat.
    Let me sooner escape in Siberian steppes
    Like a hat in a sleeve of a coat.

    Not to stare the coward and scum in the face,
    Nor the blood on the torture wheel,
    Let the blue polar foxes shine bright in my ways
    Through the night in the primeval chill.

    Lead me into the night, to the Yenisey stream
    Where pine trees reach for the sky,
    For I am not a wolf by my blood or my breed,
    And my lips will be severed by lies.


    In an early version of this verse, the final line looked as
    "And an equal will take my life." Later, Mandelstam altered it.


    More from Mandelstam.
    Translation by Michael Efroimsky

    May you keep and remember forever my speech for its taste of misfortune and smoke,
    For its pitch and its tar, for my long humble patience and labour to death.
    I wish the deep waters of Novgorod's wells were so dark, so silent and slow
    That a seven-finned quivering star on the Eve of Christ Mass mirrored faintly in their depths.

    And for that, oh my Father, my Friend, and my stern and merciless Helper,
    I, the outcast seed and the prodigal brother rejected as chaff from the Sovietwealth,
    Will frame the wells in such rough, coarse-grained and mossy log shelters,
    That nomadic Tatars would be eager to sink Russian princes in these wells.

    For I long to be loved by the scaffolds and blocks, so frozen and unrefined.
    Like in kubb, when aiming for death in the garden of games.
    And for this I shall walk through my life in a shirt made of iron
    And I shall greet the axe of the Czar with my blood that it claims.


    Joseph Brodsky's dedication to Anna Akhmatova.
    Translation by Michael Efroimsky

    The fallen lock of hair, the execution sword,
    The grain and the mill, the flame and the scripture --
    The Lord remembers all, especially the words
    Of pardon and of love, as prompted by His whisper.

    They come through beats of pulse and shovels breaking ground,
    Through bone-crashing crunch; and their pitch is rough.
    As one can live just once, they have a stronger sound
    When spelled by mortal lips, not whispered from above.

    From lands across the seas, I greet you, mighty soul.
    You found those words, and put the words to verse.
    I venerate your ribs becoming Russian soil
    Reverberating through the speechless Universe.


    Joseph Brodsky's "Letter to a Roman Friend",
    imitation of Marcus Valerius Martialis.
    Translation by Michael Efroimsky

    Wind and waves are overlaying one another.
    Autumn yields metamorphoses, far and nigher.
    Season-caused transfigurations, Postume brother,
    Touch me deeper than my lady's new attire.

    Lasses comfort you, but not beyond some border:
    Say, the elbow or maybe the kneeline.
    Blessed is beauty not confined to a body -
    No embrace and no faithfulness required.

    I am sending you some volumes, Postume brother.
    How's Rome? - Friends with steel in their pockets?
    How's the Caesar? Still intriguing, I gather...
    Still intriguing and banqueting to surfeit.

    I am sitting in my yard. My lamp is burning.
    No lass or friend or servant is around.
    Just the company of insects gently droning...
    No Princeps, no subjects, no crowd...

    Here's an Asian merchant's grave, a shaft of marble.
    He was modest, but persistent in his business.
    Perished swiftly of a fever, he had traveled
    To this land to get some cargo, not an illness.

    Here's a legionnaire's tomb, a rugged ledger.
    He had gloriously fought to Rome's avail.
    Often could have been killed. Yet died he aged.
    Even here, Postume, rules are doomed to fail.

    Postume, chicken's not a bird but just a fowl.
    Chicken-brained, thus, are subject to affliction.
    If your lot is to be born in an empire,
    Move to some remote coastland jurisdiction.

    From the tempest you are far, and from the Caesar.
    No need to cringe, to rush, to dread the thunders.
    All the governors, you say, are bloody stealers.
    I prefer the bloody stealers to blood-mongers.

    Sweat hetaera, let us quit negotiations.
    You are not to stay alone in this sprinkle.
    I shall cover you, but charging me sesterces
    Is like sparing your roofing of a shingle.

    Now you're telling me I'm leaking - where's the puddle?
    Have I ever leaked and left a puddle spreading?
    Go and find yourself a husband fit to cuddle.
    He's the one you can expect to leak on bedding.

    We have passed the halfway mark, the midway mile.
    By a tavern, once I heard an old slave utter
    That a lot of ruins can be seen around.
    Words of wisdom, though from a savage gutter...

    From a hillside stroll, I brought a spray of blossom.
    Here's a jug for it. I pour some water there.
    How's Lybia? - or where is it, Postume?
    Are we truly still engaged in that warfare?

    Postume, our Proconsul has a sister.
    Slim in waist, she otherwise is pretty ample.
    You have slept with her. She has become a priestess.
    Priestess, Postume. And is serving at a temple.

    Come to share news and bread and plums and wine.
    In the night, as heavens clear, dark and spacious,
    I'll set up for you a couch in the garden,
    And shall tell you what they call the constellations.

    Soon your friend, a devotee of composition,
    Shall be subject to the ultimate negation.
    Search the cache under the cushion. Requisition
    All the money. Tender for the inhumation.

    City walls shelter a house of ill fame.
    Thither, thitherwards you ride your raven mare.
    Pay the money, for which they entertain.
    Let them now mourn me for the same fare.

    Shivers running through the verdure of a laurel...
    Dust enshrouding the sill of the fenestra...
    Open doors... A bed and chairs - all forlorn...
    The meridian sun infusing fading vestures...

    The thalatta roars behind the hedge of pines.
    By the promontory, a windward ship is beating.
    On a cloven bench - a script by Plinius Gaius.
    From a cypress' crown comes a blackbird's twitting.

    ?????? ??????????

    Back to the
IMA Homepage