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James Harris SIMONS

Primary Position:
Chairman
Primary Company:
Renaissance Technologies
Estimated Net Worth:
At least $15.7 billion
Source of Wealth:
Self-Made
Age:
79
Birthday:
April 1938
Religion:
Jewish
Nationality:
United States
Hometown:
Brookline, Massachusetts, United States
Marital Status:
Married

Biography

Native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Simons was born in 1938. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before completing his Ph.D at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, Simons taught mathematics at MIT and Harvard University. In 1961, he and a few classmates from MIT invested in a Colombian floor tile and pipe company. In 1964, during the Vietnam War, he became a Code Breaker for the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1968, joined Stony ...

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Education History

Institution Name:
Newton High School
Qualification Name:
Diploma
Education Type:
High School
Start Date:
 
End Date:
1954
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Interesting Facts

In honor of Simons and his wife, Marilyn, whose generosity has enabled the institute to restore and renovate the building, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has named its historic Building 2 in March 2016 by using their name.

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Interests, Passion, Hobbies

Kind of Interests, Passion and Hobbies: Politics
Description: Generous political donor; lifetime giving exceeds $15 million. In 2012, donated at least $2 million to Barack Obama's Priorities USA Action.

Kind of Interests, Passion and Hobbies: Boating - Yachts
Description: He reportedly owns a 219-foot yacht, Archimedes. Appears to own his yacht through his family office, Euclidean Capital.

Kind of Interests, Passion and Hobbies: Science
Description: Simons hires scientists instead of MBAs; reportedly all job candidates must lecture the entire firm on their scientific research. His favorite topics include gene puzzles, the origins of life, the roots of autism, math and computer frontiers, basic physics and the structure of the early cosmos.

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Philanthropy

Giving Profile: Generous philanthropist whose lifetime giving exceeds $1.2 billion. In 1994, Simons and his wife, Marilyn, established the Simons Foundation, which primarily supports educational causes. Simons serves as Chairman of the Simons Foundation. In 2015, the foundation had assets exceeding $2.6 billion and donated more than $230 million in 2015. In 2005, Simons co-founded the Nick Simons Foundation in memory of his son, Nick, who passed away on a leisure trip to Bali, Indonesia in 2003. In 2006, Simons and his wife, Marilyn established the Nick Simons Institute, which trains rural healthcare workers in Nepal, Kathmandu. Simons serves as the President of the Nick Simons Foundation. In 2015, the foundation had assets exceeding $60 million and donated more than $2.5 million; gives primarily to humanitarian and social causes. Recipients include: Nick Simons Institute, Patan Hospital, American Himalayan Foundation and Himalayan Cataract Project. The couple also co-founded the Paul Simons Foundation, named after their son, Paul, whom they lost in a car accident in 1996. Serves as President of the Paul Simons Foundation. In 2015, the foundation had assets exceeding $45 million and donated more than $1.5 million; gives primarily to social and educational causes. Notable recipient is the Avalon Park and Preserve. In 2004, Simons founded Math for America, a non-profit organization established to improve mathematics and science education. Simons has also donated at least $30 million to autism research; reportedly the Simons Foundation has pledged to invest $100 million more into autism research. The Simons Foundation has made several gifts to Cornell University; supported the Cornell University Library's arXiv program, which is an open-access digital archive of scientific papers and by providing grants to faculty. Simons has established the "Simons Investigators Award", which is given by the Simons Foundation to encourage scientists. In 2011, the couple donated at least $11 million to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, supporting autism causes. In 2011, Simons and Charles Simonyi donated at least $100 million to Institute for Advanced Study through the Simons Foundation. In 2013, Cornell University established the "James H. and Marilyn H. Simons Graduate Fellowship", in honor of the Simons, who made a commitment of $2.5 million through the Simons Foundation. In 2015, the Simons Foundation donated at least $1 million to New England Aquarium, an aquarium located in Boston, Massachusetts.

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