Simons Center for Geometry and Physics
The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics is a center for theoretical physics and mathematics at Stony Brook University in New York. The focus of the center is mathematical physics and the interface of geometry and physics. It was founded in 2007 by a gift from the James and Marilyn Simons Foundation. The Center's current director is physicist Luis Álvarez-Gaumé.
The Center's permanent faculty currently consists of mathematicians Simon Donaldson and Kenji Fukaya, and of physicist Nikita Nekrasov. The Center's academic staff also includes roughly 10 research assistant professors and 20 visiting researchers at any given time. Mathematician and former director John Morgan remains in residence, and is expected to maintain a close long-term association with the Center. Other former faculty members include physicists Michael R. Douglas and Anton Kapustin.
The Simon Center's building was completed in September, 2010. The building is adjacent to the physics and mathematics departments to allow for close collaboration with the mathematics department and the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics. The building offers 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of floor space, spread over six stories, and includes a 236–seat auditorium, a 90–seat lecture hall, offices, seminar rooms, and a cafe. The building is LEED Gold certified, and is connected to the Math Tower via an elevated walkway.
James H. Simons was the chair of the mathematics department at Stony Brook from 1968 to 1976. After deciding to leave academia, he then went on to make billions with his investment firm Renaissance Technologies. On February 27, 2008 he announced a donation totaling $60 million (including a $25 million gift two years prior) to the mathematics and physics departments. This was the largest single gift ever given to any of the SUNY schools. The gift came during Stony Brook's 50th anniversary and shortly after Gov. Spitzer announced his commitment to make Stony Brook a “flagship” of the SUNY system that would rival the nation’s most prestigious state research universities. During his announcement speech, Jim Simons said “From Archimedes to Newton to Einstein, much of the most profound work in physics has been deeply intertwined with the geometric side of mathematics. Since then, in particular with the advent of such areas as quantum field theory and string theory, developments in geometry and physics have become if anything more interrelated. The new Center will give many of the world's best mathematicians and physicists the opportunity to work and interact in an environment and an architecture carefully designed to enhance progress. We believe there is a chance that work accomplished at the Center will significantly change and deepen our understanding of the physical universe and of its basic mathematical structure.” The Center results from extensive thought and planning between faculty, department chairs, and others, including Cumrun Vafa of Harvard, who directs the Simons Foundation-supported summer institutes on string theory at Stony Brook, and Isadore Singer of MIT.
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- Arneson, Karen W. (28 February 2008). "$60 Million Gift Is a Record, for Stony Brook". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "Stony Brook University Announces $60 Million Gift From Renowned Financier And Former Math Chair James Simons And Wife Marilyn, A Ph.D. Alumna". Stony Brook Press Release. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2010.