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James Harris Simons
James Simons 2007.jpg
Simons speaking at the Differential Geometry, Mathematical Physics, Mathematics and Society conference in 2007 in Bures-sur-Yvette.
Born April 25, 1938 (1938-04-25) (age 83)
Education MIT (BS)
Berkeley (PhD)
Occupation Mathematician, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist
Known for
  • Founding and managing Renaissance Technologies
  • Creating the Chern–Simons form with Shiing-Shen Chern
Net worth US$21.5 billion (February 2019)
Spouse(s) Barbara Simons (ex-wife)
Marilyn Hawrys Simons
Children 5, including Nat Simons
Parent(s) Matthew Simons
Marcia Kantor
Awards Oswald Veblen Prize (1976)

James Harris Simons also known as Jim Simons (born April 25, 1938) is an American mathematician, billionaire hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is known as a quantitative investor and in 1982 founded Renaissance Technologies, a private hedge fund based in Setauket-East Setauket, New York. Although Simons retired from the fund in 2009, he remains its non-executive chairman and adviser.

He is also known for his studies on pattern recognition. He developed (with Shiing-Shen Chern) the Chern–Simons form, and contributed to the development of string theory by providing a theoretical framework to combine geometry and topology with quantum field theory. From 1968 to 1978, Simons was a mathematics professor and subsequent chair of the mathematics department at Stony Brook University.

As reported by Forbes, his net worth as of February 2019 is estimated to be $21.5 billion.

In 2016, asteroid 6618 Jimsimons, discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1936, was named after Simons by the International Astronomical Union in honor of his contributions to mathematics and philanthropy.

Personal life

Simons shuns the limelight and rarely gives interviews, citing Benjamin the Donkey in Animal Farm for explanation: "God gave me a tail to keep off the flies. But I'd rather have had no tail and no flies." On October 10, 2009, Simons announced he would retire on January 1, 2010 but remain at Renaissance as nonexecutive chairman.

In 1996, his son Paul, aged 34, was riding a bicycle, when he was killed by a car on Long Island. In 2003, his son Nicholas, aged 24, drowned on a trip to Bali, Indonesia. His son Nat Simons is an investor and philanthropist.

Legacy and awards

In 2008, he was inducted into Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame along with David Swensen, Louis Bacon, Steven Cohen, Kenneth Griffin, Paul Tudor Jones, George Soros, Michael Steinhardt, Jack Nash, Seth Klarman, Alfred Jones, Leon Levy, Julian Robertson, and Bruce Kovner.

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