Today here in New York City there will be a formal announcement by governor Eliot Spitzer of a gift by Jim Simons of $60 million dollars to fund a new research center at SUNY Stony Brook, to be called the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook. Simons already made a donation of $25 million dollars to Stony Brook back in 2006 to support math and physics, with the idea of getting such a center off the ground. People there had told me last year that they were expecting Simons to fully fund an expensive new center with a new building once they had managed to find a suitable director, and recently I had heard that string theorist Michael Douglas had accepted the director’s position.
This is the largest gift ever made not only to Stony Brook, but to any of the institutions in the SUNY system. Besides the building and the position for Douglas, it is supposed to fund 30 visiting positions and presumably a sizable number of permanent positions in mathematics and physics (the 2006 gift also is supposed to pay for such positions). The scale of this should make the Simons Center among the best funded institutions in this field. Job prospects for string theorists have just improved significantly…
Update: More here.
Update: More in the New York Times here. The $60 million includes the previously announced $25 million, and will pay for a new building as well as an endowment of $40-45 million. The endowment will fund the director’s position, 6 more permanent positions, and 30 postdocs and visiting positions.