On 7 July 2014, the New York Times ran a feature story on James H. Simons, the well-known geometer, hedge fund founder, billionaire and philanthropist. Here are some of the fascinating facts uncovered in the *Times* story and elsewhere:

- Simons was born in 1938 in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of a shoe factory owner.
- Simons graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in three years, then received his Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley in three more years, finishing at the age of 23.
- Simons worked on cryptographic mathematics at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton, New Jersey, but failed as a programmer.
- He publicly dissented with his boss, a retired four-star Army general, on whether the Vietnam War should be pursued.
- At the age of 30, he accepted the position as Chair of the mathematics department at Stony Brook University, a job that no one else wanted, and turned it into an excellent department.
- In 1976, Simons won the Oswald Veblen Prize of the American Mathematical Society for groundbreaking work in area-minimizing surfaces.
- In 1982, at the ripe old age of 44, Simons founded Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds.
- In recent years, two of his four sons died in tragic accidents: Paul, 34, was killed riding a bicycle, and Nicholas, 24, drowned while on a trip to Bali, Indonesia.
- Simons and his wife have established the Simons Foundation, which sponsors research in mathematics and mathematical physics, science news and public outreach.
- With a net worth of approximately $12.5 billion, Simons is now #93 on the latest Forbes rankings of the world’s billionaires.

Additional details are available in the New York Times feature article and also in the Wikipedia article on Simons.