About Jim and Marilyn Simons
Dr. James H. Simons
Dr. James H. Simons is Chair of the Simons Foundation, and founder and board chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC, a highly quantitative investment firm from which he retired in 2009 after serving as its CEO for more than 30 years. Previously he was chairman of the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University. Earlier in his career he was a cryptanalyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton, N.J., and taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Dr. Simons holds a B.S. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. His scientific research was in the area of geometry and topology. In 1975 he received the American Mathematical Society’s Veblen Prize in Geometry for work that involved a recasting of the subject of area minimizing multidimensional surfaces. A consequence was the settling of two classical questions, the Bernstein Conjecture and the Plateau Problem. Dr. Simons’ most influential research involved the discovery and application of certain geometric measurements, now called the Chern-Simons Invariants, which have widespread use, particularly in theoretical physics.
Dr. Simons is the founder and chairman of Math for America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve math education significantly in our nation’s public schools. He serves as trustee of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Institute for Advanced Study, The Rockefeller University, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. He also is a member of the board of the MIT Corporation and chair emeritus of the Stony Brook Foundation. Together with his wife, Marilyn, Dr. Simons manages the Simons Foundation, a charitable organization primarily devoted to scientific research.
In addition to Math for America, the Foundation’s philanthropic activities include a major research initiative on the causes of autism and the recent 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 U.S. and abroad. Dr. Simons and his wife also have privately launched and funded a countrywide health care and training program in Nepal.
Dr. Marilyn Hawrys Simons
Marilyn Hawrys Simons is president of the Simons Foundation. Under her leadership the foundation has grown rapidly since its inception in 1994 to become one of the country’s leading private funders of basic scientific research. Simons also has more than 25 years of experience actively supporting nonprofit organizations in New York City and Long Island. In addition to her work to advance basic science research, Simons has been involved in K-12 education for underserved communities. Simons is vice president of the board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an outstanding U.S. research facility specializing in molecular biology and genetics. She is treasurer of the board of the LearningSpring School, a New York City school for children ages 5-14 with diagnoses on the autism spectrum. She is also a member of the board of trustees at the East Harlem Tutorial Program, an after-school program in New York City. Simons received a B.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from The State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Stony Brook is an outstanding public university, offering a wonderful education at reasonable cost to thousands of young people. The generosity of those who joined us in this effort will enhance the University in many dimensions, making that education more valuable still.