James H. Simons, PhD, is Chairman of the Simons Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. The Foundation’s philanthropic activities include a major research initiative on the causes of autism, and the establishment of an institute for research in mathematics and theoretical physics. The Foundation is particularly interested in the growing interface between the physical and life sciences and has established and endowed several such research programs at universities and institutions both in the US and abroad.
Dr. Simons is Board Chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC, a highly quantitative investment firm, from which he retired in 2009 having founded the company and serving as its CEO for over thirty years. Previously he was chairman of the Mathematics Department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Earlier in his career he was a cryptanalyst at the Institute of Defense Analyses in Princeton, and taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Dr. Simons holds a BSc. degree in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. His scientific research was in the area of geometry and topology. He received the American Mathematical Society Veblen Prize in Geometry in 1975 for work that involved a recasting of the subject of area minimizing multi- dimensional surfaces. Dr. Simons’ most influential research involved the discovery and application of certain geometric measurements, now called the Chern-Simons Invariants, which have wide use, particularly in theoretical physics.
Dr. Simons is the founder and Chairman of Math for America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to significantly improve math education in our nation’s public schools. He serves as Trustee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Institute for Advanced Study, Rockefeller University, the New York Genome Center, Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. He is also a member of the Board of the MIT Corporation and Chair Emeritus of the Stony Brook Foundation. Dr. Simons is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.