James H. Simons, founder and president of Renaissance Technologies Corp., has been appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study. Renaissance Technologies is an investment management firm dedicated to the use of mathematical methods. Prior to founding Renaissance, Simons served as chairman of the Mathematics Department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was a cryptanalyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton, and taught mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Simons is a founder of a number of U.S.-based technology companies. Those of which he is a director include: Franklin Electronic Publishers, Numar Corporation, Cylink Corporation, Segue Corporation, and Kentek Information Systems. He is a founder and director of the Sanford Group, an industrial holding company in South America, and is General Partner of the Long Island Venture Fund.
He chairs the Stony Brook Foundation Board at SUNY Stony Brook, and is a member of the Visiting Committee of the Department of Mathematics of MIT.
Simons received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.
His scientific work is in the area of geometry and topology. His most influential work involves the discovery and application of certain measurements, now called the Chern-Simons Invarients, which turn out to have wide use, particularly in theoretical physics. In 1975 he received the Veblen Prize in Geometry from the American Mathematical Society.