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Credit: Simons Foundation

In memoriam: investment pioneer and owner of 68m Archimedes James Simons dies

17 May 2024 • Written by Dea Jusufi

Award-winning mathematician, investor and owner of the 67.8-metre Archimedes James (Jim) Simons has died aged 86 (10 May 2024). 

Simons donated billions of dollars to philanthropic causes during his lifetime, particularly those supporting math and science research and education. He previously chaired the math department at Stony Brook University in New York and his breakthroughs during that time are now instrumental to fields such as string theory, topology and condensed matter physics.

In 1978, Jim founded what would become Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that pioneered quantitative trading and became one of the most profitable investment firms in history. He then turned his attention to philanthropic pursuits, launching the Simons Foundation alongside his wife Marilyn in 1994. The foundation's work has since "led to breakthroughs in our understanding of autism, the origins of the universe, cellular biology and computational science."

Credit: Feadship
Credit: Feadship

He also famously donated his superyacht to the charity SeaKeeper and was said to engage with ongoing missions himself, including beach clean-ups and accommodating scientists on board.

Delivered by Feadship in 2008, Archimedes is named after the Ancient Greek mathematician and physicist who discovered the law of buoyancy, also known as Archimedes' principle. She has since visited more than 80 countries, including an expedition through the Northwest Passage and a record-breaking 54 days in the High Arctic.

Her John Munford-designed interiors are also indicative of Simons' appreciation for antiquity, featuring mosaics of mythical and historical figures and artwork in the Ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman style.

Credit: Feadship
Credit: Feadship
Credit: Feadship

"Jim was an exceptional leader who did transformative work in mathematics and developed a world-leading investment company," said Simons Foundation president David Spergel. "Together with Marilyn Simons, the current Simons Foundation board chair, Jim created an organisation that has already had enormous impact in mathematics, basic science and our understanding of autism. The Simons Foundation, an in-perpetuity foundation, will carry their vision for philanthropy into the future."

James Simons is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and countless other family, friends and colleagues.

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