Each year, the Simons Foundation requests nominations from a targeted list of institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland for the Simons Investigator programs. Simons Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists who receive a stable base of research support from the foundation, enabling them to undertake the long-term study of fundamental questions.
Only nominations from institutions that receive the request will be accepted. The Math+X and MMLS programs have been discontinued and the foundation will not be requesting future nominations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Computer Science
The intent of the Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Computer Science programs is to support outstanding theoretical scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists. Starting in 2020, up to two Simons Investigator in Physics awards will be granted to well-established researchers who develop and apply advance theoretical physics ideas and methods in the life sciences.
A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years. Renewal for an additional five years is contingent upon the evaluation of scientific impact of the Investigator. An Investigator receives research support of $100,000 per year. An additional $10,000 per year is provided to the Investigator’s department. The Investigator’s institution receives an additional 20 percent in indirect costs.
To be an Investigator, a scientist must be engaged in theoretical research in mathematics, physics, astrophysics or computer science and must not previously have been a Simons Investigator. He/she must have a primary appointment as a tenured faculty member at an educational institution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Ireland, on a campus within these countries and the primary department affiliation must have a Ph.D. program.
Simons Investigators in Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems (MMLS)
This program aims to help the research careers of outstanding scientists working on mathematical and theoretical approaches to topics in the life sciences. A Simons Investigator in MMLS is appointed for five years.
This program encourages novel collaborations between mathematics and other fields in science or engineering by providing funds to professors to establish programs at the interface between mathematics and other fields of science or engineering. A Math+X Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years. Renewal for an additional five years is contingent upon the evaluation of scientific impact of the Investigator.
Aashish Clerk is a theoretical physicist working at the intersection of condensed matter, quantum optics and quantum information theory. His research focuses on driven-dissipative quantum phenomena and is motivated both by fundamental questions as well as potential applications in quantum technologies. Clerk is best known for his works on quantum optomechanical systems, on quantum amplification and measurement, and on dissipation engineering to realize unidirectional interactions. Clerk’s current work spans topics ranging from quantum transduction and quantum control to the study of new kinds of driven-dissipative bosonic topological phases and non-Hermitian quantum phenomena.
Claudia de Rham works at the interface between gravity, particle physics and cosmology. She develops and tests new models to tackle fundamental questions of physics, such as the origin and evolution of the Universe, its accelerated expansion and the nature of gravity. She is known for uncovering the first theoretical framework where the graviton could carry a mass with far-reaching implications for cosmology and gravity. Recently, de Rham has focused on developing consistent effective field theory descriptions of our Universe that may enjoy a standard high-energy completion and on determining new classes of observational signatures.
Mohammad Hafezi is known for his contributions in a number of works to synthesize and characterize quantum many-body and topological physics beyond electronic systems. Examples include cold atoms, superconducting qubits and photons, where his works on the last one have helped found the field of topological photonics. Some of his current interests include efficient characterization and probing of many-body properties in quantum simulators. His research group is interested in exploring the application of quantum optics to create, probe and manipulate correlated electron systems.
Jané Kondev uses the tools of theoretical physics to uncover laws that govern the inner workings of cells. His lab works on the regulation of gene expression, the packing of DNA in cells and the self-organization of the cytoskeleton. One of the major themes of the research is how genes specify geometry, such as the size of cytoskeletal structures or the shape of the cell’s genome. Kondev is the co-author of the book Physical Biology of the Cell, in which life is examined using simple physics models.
Leonardo Rastelli works on a broad range of problems in quantum field theory and string theory. He is known for his contributions to the AdS/CFT correspondence, string field theory, supersymmetric field theories and the conformal bootstrap. He is interested in developing a deeper framework for quantum field theory and quantum gravity, based on symmetry and general consistency principles, in the spirit of the bootstrap.
Kathryn Zurek is a particle theorist who specializes in theories of dark matter and new ideas for how one might detect it, either in terrestrial laboratories or through astrophysical observation. She is known for her proposal of Hidden Valley theories, which highlighted new experimental signatures at the Large Hadron Collider and opened the new paradigm of hidden-sector dark matter. Zurek also proposed the theory of asymmetric dark matter, which motivates a new class of experiments searching for light dark matter. Recently, she has explored a new direction in experimental signatures of quantum gravity.