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20 Things You Didn't Know About James Simons

James Simons

James Simons is an American businessman and entrepreneur. He founded the Renaissance Technologies company and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the United States. He's a multi-billionaire who has developed amazing intuitions and skills in the hedge fund sector of the finance industry. We were interested in learning more about him and how he came to be so successful in his career. After reviewing his history and accomplishments, we learned some impressive facts about him. Here are 20 things that you probably didn't know about James Simons.

1. James Simons is a quantitative investor

Billionaire James Simons is a great many things. Among them, he is a mathematician and a quantitative investor. It is his brilliance in mathematics that gave him the ability to understand numbers and how to become successful in the management of hedge funds. He is known as the "smartest billionaire in the world because of his mathematical genius and his ability to understand the language of mathematics.

2. He's an academic

Simons may be known in business circles for the creative genius behind Renaissance Technologies, but in academic circles he is known for his work with Shiing Shen Chem in the development of string theory. He developed the theoretical framework behind the popular theory which led to its development. His knowledge of topology and geometry along with quantum field theory was helpful in this effort.

3. James Simons is a notable professor

Simons served as a mathematics professor at the University level. He also served as a chair of the Stony Brook University Mathematics department from 1968 through 1978. He dedicated a decade of his life to teaching students, running the department and working on theoretical physics subjects. He is also well known in academic circles for his pattern recognition studies. 4. James Simons is a philanthropist

Mr. Simons and his wife established the Simons Foundation in 1994. The purpose of the foundation is to provide support for research in fundamental sciences and mathematics. He gives regular donations to teh Mathematical Sciences Research Institute adn has served as a member of the board of trustees for the organization. In addition to this, he founded the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing in 2012, at Berkely.

5. He was raised in a Jewish family

Mr.Simons was born in April of 1938. His parents were Marcia and Matthew Simons, and he was an only child. He was raised ina Jewish family in Brookline Massachusetts. His father was the owner of a shoe factory. This would make him 81 years old as of April of 2019. He has since retired from his leadership at the Renaissance, but he still continues to maintain involvement as a non-executive chairman and adviser since his retirement in 2009, a decade ago.

6. He was demoted in his first job

James has always been a highly intellectual and brilliant person by virtue of his abilities, but this didn't always translate into success in every venture that he undertook. When he was a teenager, he was hired by a garden supply store as a basement stocker. It wasn't a difficult job but for him, it wasn't a good fit. He was incredibly inefficient at performing his assigned tasks. As a result, he as demoted from one of the most basic jobs at the store, and instead made a floor sweeper. This was his first experience in the business world and one of his first real failures on the job.

7. His net worth is $21.6 billion

According to Forbes, Mr. James Harris Simons has a net worth that is estimated to be $21.6 billion as of October of 2019. Forbes gives him an 8 out of 10 for being a self-made billionaire, which means that he has made most of his astronomical fortune on his own and with little help from others. His company Renaissance Technologies is one of the largest quantitative trading hedge fund firms and it manages approximately $68 billion. Mr. Simons is still receiving financial benefits from its funds.

8. He's given billions to worthy causes

Another organization that Mr. Simons supports through his foundation is Math for America. He is the primary funder for this program. In addition to his, he also supports research for autism. James Simons has given an estimated $2.7 billion in funding for causes that he and his wife believe in and deem worthy. He has done a lot to support the efforts of others to make the world a better place and to find solutions to problems such as autism.

9. He had an important job during the Vietnam war

We recently learned that Mr. Simons played a very important role for the United States military during the Vietnam War. He served as a codebreaker for the war effort. This was a vital service as it helped key decision-makers to know in advance when there was going to be a strategic move made by the enemy and by breaking the codes, he may have saved hundreds or even thousands of lives. This is one of those little known facts about Mr. Simons that shows us what an interesting life he's led.

10. Simons is included in several prestigious Forbes' lists

Forbes has given Mr. Simons credit for a few of the many accomplishments that he's made during his lifetime. He was included on the Forbes 400 list for 2019 and appeared in the 21st position. In addition to this, he was listed as the number one Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Manager for 2019. He was also listed as number 44 on their top Billionaires of 2019 list. Forbes listed his predominant source of wealth as being through hedge funds and signified that he is self-made.

11. Mr. Simons is married and has a family

James Simons has been a busy man and he's been heavily involved in research as well as entrepreneurship. Even though his career has kept him busy, he still made time to have an active personal life. He has been married twice. His first wife was Barbara Bluestein. They married in 1959 and divorced in 1974. His second and current wife is Marilyn Hawrys Simons. He is the father of three children. He lives in East Setauket, New York.

12. He's an MIT Graduate

When it comes to his education, Mr. Simons attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more commonly known as MIT. He obtained his bachelor of arts/science from the school, graduating in 1958 with a major in mathematics. He went on to enroll in the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his doctorate, which is also in mathematics. He studied under Bertram Kostant and was awarded his Ph.D. in 1961 at the young age of just 23.

13. Dr. Simons has been a major influence on the study of physics

Dr. James Simons is one of the greatest mathematical minds of our century. His contributions to the field have yielded a positive impact on modern physics. He's made significant contributions to topology and geometry and his part in developing string theory has opened the doors for mathematicians and theoretical physicists to take their research even further. His name is well-respected and honored because of the groundwork that he has laid for many researchers in the field who currently base their works from his research and discoveries.

14. He's received significant awards and recognition

James Simons became the recipient of the AMS Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry in 1976. The award was granted for his groundbreaking work in topology and geometry as well as other contributions that he'd made. He's credited with providing new evidence of Berger's classification of the holonomy groups of Riemannian manifolds, which led to multiple related discoveries in the discipline of math and physics. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in the United States in 2014.

15. His philosophy on life is beautiful

One of the most impressive things that we learned about Dr. James Simons is his philosophy on life. He has lived 81 years on this earth and he is one of the smartest people alive today. He could give an hour-long lecture about mathematics, physics or probably any one of hundreds of subjects when giving advice, but perhaps the most profound thing that he shared when giving advice is simply this. "Be guided by beauty." His life has been very well lived and he knows how to make the most of it and also how to make the world around you a better place because that is precisely what he has done. When a brilliant mind offers a short summary delivered from his years of experience in living life, it's definitely something that is worth consideration. This was the response that he gave when asked by a student about life lessons.

16. His boss laughed at him when he said he was going to MIT

While James Simons was working at the garden shop, his boss asked him what he planned to do for the future. Bear in mind that he was a teenager at the time who had recently been demoted for failing at a stocker's job. He responded that he planned to study mathematics at MIT. They found this to be humorous and they made fun of him and laughed at the very idea. The funniest part of the story is that Simons had the last laugh when he entered MIT at the age of just 17, completed a four-year program in three years and earned his P.h.D. from a different prestigious school by the time he was just 23.

17. He went biking through Bogota, Columbia

Here's another interesting bit of trivia that we learned about Mr. Simons. He made friends with students from the country of Columbia when he was in school Somewhere in between the time that he graduated from MIT and before Berkeley, he took a long road trip with his buddies. They went on motor scooters and they started their journey in Boston, Massachusetts. The trip took them all the way through Mexica, Guatemala and Costa Rica and they ended up in Bogota, Columbia. This was Simons' first trip out of the United States.

18. He invested in Columbian business ventures

Simons never forgot the friends that he had made from Columbia. When they started up their own business ventures in Columbia, he invested in them. They had startups for teh manufacture of vinyl tile and plumbing and it was a good investment because the construction boom in Columbia began around the same time that they got their businesses up and running. This was a deal that would profit all stakeholders for many years to come.

19. He invested his wedding money in the stock market

When Simons married his first wife Barbara in 1959, they lived in an apartment but they were not rich at that time. They were getting by, by Simons wanted to make some real money. The couple had received about $5,000 in wedding gifts, so James made the decision to invest the money. He invested the entire amount in Soybean Futures. He made a little extra from the investment but didn't get rich as he had hoped.

20 He was fired from the Institute of Defense Analysis

When Simons was 29 years old he had already established himself as a math genius. He was working for the Insitute of Defense Analysis in encryption. He committed some type of infraction on the job. Simons admits tht he was a wise guy and he had the audacity to tell his boss all about it, with a little embellishment. His boss promtly fired him. He had made a few objections towards the war and they were not well received, and it lost him a job, but he still spoke his mind. Simons stated that his objections came more from a rational perspective than an emotional one.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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