- I was sorry to hear of the death a few months ago of Tony Smith, who had been a frequent commenter on this blog and others. Unfortunately my interactions with him mainly involved trying to discourage him from hijacking the discussion in some other (often unusual) direction. Geoffrey Dixon did get to know him well, and has written a wonderful long blog entry about Tony, which I highly recommend (Dixon’s newish blog also has other things you might find interesting).
- On the Jim Simons front, the Simons Foundation has put together something to celebrate their 25th anniversary. It explains a lot about their history and what they are doing now, as well as giving some indication of plans for the future. On these topics, read pieces written by Jim Simons and Marilyn Simons. The Foundation has been in a high growth mode, having an increasingly large impact on math and physics research. Their main statement about the future is that the plan is for this to go on for a very long time:
According to its bylaws, the Simons Foundation is intended to focus almost entirely on research in mathematics and science and to exist in perpetuity. If future leadership abides by these guiding principles, Marilyn and I believe the foundation will forever be a force for good in our society.
My impression is that the Simons children have their own interests, and foundations with other goals to run.
News from the \$75 billion source of the money (RenTech) today is that Simons is increasingly turning over control of that to his son Nathaniel, who has been named co-chairman. He has also added four new directors to the board, four of them senior Renaissance executives, and one his son-in-law Mark Heising.
- There are various IAS-related videos you might want to take a look at:
- If you aren’t regularly reading Scott Aaronson’s blog, you really should be. Latest entries are a detailed report from Davos and a guest post with a compelling argument about a major factor behind the problem of why women leave STEM careers more than men.
- For the latest on the “It from Qubit” business, see talks at a KITP conference. John Preskill notes “lingering confusion over what it all means”, which makes me glad to hear that I’m not the only one…
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