Tribute to Jim Simons - IHES

Tribute to Jim Simons

With deep sorrow, IHES shares the news of Jim Simons’ passing last Friday, May 10th, 2024.

Jim Simons was an award-winning mathematician, a legend in quantitative investing, and an inspired and generous philanthropist.

He chaired the math department at Stony Brook University in New York, and his mathematical breakthroughs during that time are now instrumental to fields such as string theory, topology and condensed matter physics.

In 1978, Jim founded what would become Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that pioneered quantitative trading and became one of the most profitable investment firms in history. He then turned his focus to making a difference in the world through the Simons Foundation, Simons Foundation International, Math for America and other philanthropic efforts.

Jim first visited IHES in the seventies and he stayed very close to the Institute ever since. Together with his spouse Marilyn, they are the Institute’s most significant donors and their support of IHES has been completely transformative and unparalleled. The Institute’s most iconic building, the Marilyn and James Simons Conference Center, is named after them.

Jim was personally involved in ensuring the success and development of IHES. He was a member of the IHES Board of Directors since 2014. In 2022, Jim and Marilyn Simons also became Co-Chairs of Friends of IHES, the Institute’s partner organization in the United States. Together, they successfully established a complementary endowment fund for IHES in the United States.

In recognition for all the support he gave to IHES, and more generally to French mathematics and fundamental research, facilitating scientific cooperation and dialogue at an international level, Jim Simons was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2016 by the French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud.

IHES and all of its community are greatly saddened by this news and are mourning alongside Marilyn and all the Simons family.