Simons Society of Fellows Retreat 2024

Date & Time


Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
6063 Avenida Isla Verde
Carolina, 00979 Puerto Rico

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Registration Closed

Invitation Only

Meeting Goals:
The Simons Society of Fellows will gather at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel for a long weekend of talks, discussions and interaction. Scientific activities will take place Friday-Sunday with a selection of Junior and Senior Fellows being invited to give short, 20-minute talks reviewing their research. Speakers will be notified via a separate email in the coming weeks and a final agenda will be circulated in February.

  • Agendaplus--large

    Friday, March 15

    11:00 AMFlight Departure | John F. Kennedy International Airport
    2:45 PM Flight Arrival | San Juan International Airport
    3:00 PM Ground Transfer | San Juan to Fairmont
    3:15 PMFairmont Arrival and Check-in
    4:30 PM Tea | Bennett
    5:00 PMCynthia Steinhardt | Investigating How the Brain Interprets Artificial Electrical Signals Via Cochlear Implants
    5:25 PMFloor Broekgaarden | Gravitational-Wave Paleontology: A new Frontier to Explore the Lives & Deaths of Massive Stars Across Cosmic History
    5:50 PMCarol Mason | TBC
    7:00 PMDinner | Ballroom Terrace

    Saturday, March 16

    8:30 AMBreakfast | Gold Room
    10:00 AMAbigail Bodner | Ocean Mixed Layer Dynamics: From Physics to Climate Models and Back Again
    10:25 AMMorris Ang | Random Curves and Surfaces
    10:50 AMOliver Philcox | Astrophysics
    11:15 AMBreak | Bennett
    11:45 AMLynn Yap | Smelling By Association: How Recollections Shape Our Perception of Odors
    12:10 PMPaige Arnold | Elucidating a Role for Metabolism in the Bacteria Versus Phage Evolutionary Arms Race
    12:35 PMLunch | Gold Room
    1:30 PMRecreation & Discussion
    4:30 PMTea | Bennett
    5:00 PMIsabel Low | Investigating the Transformation of Memory into Action in Food-Caching Birds
    5:25 PMSanchit Chaturvedi | The Shaky Past, Exciting Present and A Bright Future of Theory of Gases
    5:50Jane Hubbard | Diet, Aging, and Stem Cells
    7:00 PMDinner | Caña Ocean Terrace

    Sunday, March 17

    8:30 AMBreakfast | Gold Room
    10:00 AMEric Arsenault | Quantum Collusion: Directed Energy and Charge Flow Through Electronic-Vibrational Interactions
    10:25 AMMichael Chapman | Are there Non-Approximable Objects?
    10:50 AMFrancesca Mignacco | Statistical Physics Approaches to Study Large Populations of Neurons
    11:15 AMBreak | Bennett
    11:45 AMElla King | Nonreciprocal Wave-Matter Interactions
    12:10 PMAndre Toussaint | Investigating the Behavioral and Neural Signatures of Naturally Occurring Pain Hypersensitivity Using SJLJ Mice
    12:35 PMLunch | Gold Room
    12:40 PMRecreation & Discussion - Optional Activity (Rainforest Hike )
    4:30 PMTea | Bennett
    7:00 PMDinner | Banyan Tree

    Monday, March 18

    8:00AMBreakfast | Gold Room
    10:00 AMGround Transfer to Airport
    11:52 AMFlight Departure | San Juan International Airport
    4:05 PMFlight Arrival | John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Travel & Hotelplus--large


    The foundation will arrange and pay for round-trip group air travel from NYC to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    All travel and hotel arrangements must be booked through the Simons Foundation’s preferred travel agency.

    Travel arrangements not booked through the preferred agency, including triangle trips and routing/preferred airlines outside budget, must be pre-approved by the Simons Foundation and a reimbursement quote must be obtained through the foundation’s travel agency.

    All costs related to changes made to ticketed travel are to be paid for by the participant and are not reimbursable. Please contact the foundation’s travel agency for further assistance.


    A reservation will be made on behalf of all retreat attendees at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel.

    Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
    6063 Avenida Isla Verde, Carolina, 00979 Puerto Rico

  • El Yunque Rainforest Excursiónplus--large

    Named after the good Indian spirit, Yuquiyu, and shelter to the Carib Indians for 200 years, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System.

    The excursion will include a stop at the visitors’ center before meeting with a knowledgeable guide who will point out the splendor of the surroundings on an easy hike suitable for all fitness levels. The hike will be followed by a drive up to the Yokahu tower to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views.

    Finally, the tour will conclude with a 1-hour stop at a refreshing river.

    All interested fellows will be able to sign-up for the excursion via registration.

  • Reimbursementplus--large

    Individuals will be reimbursed for meals and local expenses including ground transportation. Expenses should be submitted through the foundation’s online expense reimbursement platform after the meeting’s conclusion.

    Expenses accrued as a result of meetings not directly related to the Simons Foundation-hosted meeting (a satellite collaboration meeting held at another institution, for example) will not be reimbursed by the Simons Foundation and should be paid by other sources.

    Below are key reimbursement takeaways; a full policy will be provided with the final logistics email circulated approximately 2 weeks prior to the meeting’s start.

    The daily meal limit is $125 and itemized receipts are required for expenses over $24 USD. The foundation DOES NOT provide a meal per diem and only reimburses actual meal expenses.

    • Meals taken on travel days are reimbursable.
    • Meals taken outside those provided by the foundation (breakfast, lunch, breaks and/or dinner) are not reimbursable.
    • If a meal was not provided on a meeting day, dinner for example, that expense is reimbursable.
    • Meals taken on days not associated with Simons Foundation-coordinated events are not reimbursable.
    • Minibar expenses are not reimbursable
    • Meal expenses for a non-foundation guest are not reimbursable.

    Group meals consisting of fellow meeting participants paid by a single person will be reimbursed up to $65 per person per meal and the amount will count towards each individual’s $125 daily meal limit.

    Ground Transportation
    Ground transportation to JFK will be arranged for those who request it by the Simons Foundation as well as round-trip transportation between SJU and the Fairmont Hotel in Puerto Rico.

    All other ground transportation expenses will be reviewed and reimbursed after the meeting’s conclusion.

  • AVplus--large

    Participants will have access to a projector and screen for computer based talks as well as whiteboards for those who prefer to give board-based talks. High-speed Internet access is available as well.

  • Dress Codeplus--large

    Business casual clothing should be worn during the retreat. Some meals will be served outdoors; please bring a light jacket.

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