The well known Mathematician and a code breaker: The inspiring story of James Simons

The well known Mathematician and a code breaker The inspiring story of James Simons

The world knew many mathematicians before and after. They are the ones who have created history or had bring about a major change. If we talk about revolutionaries mathematicians, one name is James Simons an American Mathematician, hedge fund manager, philanthropist and a code breaker too. Simons is known as the “Quant King” and started one of the most successful Quant Funds in the world after stints at the National Security Agency (NSA) and teaching positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Harvard and last but not the least, the man is the founder of the Renaissance Technologies.

Here’s his life story.

Early life

Simons was born in Brookline., Massachusetts. Simons discovered his love for Mathematics at an early age. At an early age, he worked at a garden supply store as a floor sweeper after being demoted from a stock boy position due to his lack of memory inventory location but nevertheless, his plan of becoming an ambitious Mathematician never left him.


Simons was accepted in MIT and majored in mathematics. Upon graduating, Simons studied at the University of California, Berkley for his doctorate in mathematics and an year later he received his doctorate.

Career stages

Soon after Simons received his doctorate, he took up teaching mathematics at MIT and Harvard and then Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) recruited Simons where he took up the job as a code breaker. After IDA, Simons became the chairman of the mathematics department at Stony Brook University where he helped in developing key roles in mathematics and physics.

Finance career

Simons decided to pursue a career in finance and following the mathematician started the hedge fund Monemetrics which was the predecessor to the highly successful Renaissance Technologies. At first Simons didn’t think of applying mathematics to his hedge fund but later he realized that he could mathematical and statistical models to interpret data.

Quantitative Analysis

Simons decided to solely use quantitative analysis to decides which trade to enter. Simons only sought expert in mathematics, data analysis and other scientific-related fields to work with him at the fund. Simons filled the fund with programmers, mathematicians, physicists and cryptographers. The company thrived due to the complex mathematical formulas the scientists had developed.

Controversial era

Simons was questioned by investors on the dramatic performance gap of Renaissance Technologies portfolios as the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund owned by outsiders, lost money in the two subsequent years and as followed, Simons was subjected to bipartisan condemnation by the U.S. Senate, for the use of complex barrier options to shield day to day trading but however, the company engaged somehow in highly profitable trades while claiming an unjustified lower tax and avoiding limits on trading.

Success and Tragedy

Success and tragedy always go hand in hand. Simon recalls the incident when he lost his both sons in accidents and this happened when Simon’s empire had a high and he himself was on the top notch of success. The tragedy result in a serious breakdown, especially for Simon’s but even that didn’t let him stop. Simon’s continued to run the empire with full concentration and force.

Simon’s foundation

Simons along with his wife founded the Simon’s foundation devoted to supporting scientific research, education and health. To support his autism research, Simons had contributed on a regular basis, also Simons founded math for America to encourage mathematics and science teachers to remain their roles and advance their teaching abilities.

Lesser known fact

Simons is a genius of a man who likes to muse on gene puzzles, the origins of life, the root of autism, math and computer frontiers, basic physics and the structure of the early cosmos. Simon’s is one of those personalities who likes to get into a knack of complicated things.

The big advocate

Simon’s is known as the big advocate of idea sharing and hiring the brightest people from various scientific -related fields. He believes on great people, great infrastructure and open environment.

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