Newswise — STONY BROOK, NY, April 30, 2014 – James H. Simons, research professor and former chair of the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University and chairman of the board of the Simons Foundation, has been named a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries that were elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, and brings the total number of Stony Brook University’s NAS membership to 24.
Simons is the founder of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University. The Simons Center is a research center devoted to furthering fundamental knowledge in mathematics and theoretical physics, especially knowledge at the interface of these two disciplines.
“Jim’s vast and innovative contributions to the field of mathematics and to differential geometry go well beyond the classroom,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Jim deserves this recognition because he has changed how we look at mathematics, and elevated our understanding of its influence on society.”
Simons is board chair and founder of Renaissance Technologies. Prior to his financial career, Simons taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, and was a cryptanalyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton, New Jersey. Simons’ scientific work was in geometry and topology; his seminal work involved the discovery and application of certain measurements, now called Chern-Simons invariants, which have had wide use, particularly in theoretical physics.
Simons holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and won the American Mathematical Society’s Veblen Prize for his work in geometry in 1976. He is a trustee of the Stony Brook Foundation, The Rockefeller University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Institute for Advanced Study, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is also the founder and Chair of Math for America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to significantly improve math education in our nation’s public schools.