Simons Foundation 2017 Annual Report – Simons Foundation Simons Foundation 2017 Annual Report – Simons Foundation

Annual Report

2017 Edition

Flatiron Institute

Flatiron Institute Inaugural Celebration

The Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute “is already becoming a place where people come to learn new algorithms and approaches,” says David Spergel.

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Center For Computational Quantum Physics

CCQ scientists are laying the groundwork for predicting how electrons collectively behave. The work could one day allow scientists to design materials with fantastic properties.

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Center For Computational Astrophysics: Neutron Star Mergers

The neutron star merger "brought us into a whole new regime of understanding,” says Jennifer Barnes. “The meeting highlighted just how many open questions there are.”

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Center For Computational Neuronal Movies

Calcium imaging movies were once small enough that scientists could manually label the neurons. Today it is common to collect 100,000 frames per hour. CaImAn software can help manage the deluge.

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Center For Computational Biology: HumanBase

New biological data holds a wealth of undiscovered knowledge, says Olga Troyanskaya. “We wanted to build a single resource that could help biologists discover and leverage that knowledge.”

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Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Scott Aaronson: Quantum And Classical Uncertainty

For a quantum computing optimist, Aaronson spends an impressive amount of time figuring out what quantum computers can’t do. “I try to understand the ultimate limitations of algorithms,” he says.

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Sharon Glotzer: Order From Uncertainty

"We didn’t believe it for a long time, until we proved to ourselves it was real,” Glotzer says, describing simulations and experiments where entropy led to order rather than disorder. “

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Horng-Tzer Yau: Taming Randomness

The matrix is a workhorse of modern math, physics, computer science and engineering. A few years ago, Yau and his collaborators successfully resolved decades-old questions about random matrices.

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Life Sciences

Simons Collaboration On The Origins Of Life

SCOL has increased its focus on geoscience in the hunt for life's origins. “It’s the biggest question that science has not been able to come to grips with,” says Roger Summons. “It’s a grand challenge.”

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Nurturing The Next Generation Of Marine Microbial Ecologists

Marine microbial ecology remains an underfunded area of science. “For this area to thrive, we have to get young scientists to find it an area where their careers can flourish,” says Marian Carlson.

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Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain

Simons Collaboration On The Global Brain: Mapping Beyond Space

“We’re trying to break free of a preconceived notion of how the brain is operating,” Lisa Giocomo says. “With our approach, you can take a blind perspective.”

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Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

The Hunt For Autism Genes

Over the last five years, scientists have discovered about 100 high-confidence autism risk genes. However, researchers estimate that 300 to 1,000 genes will be found to confer risk for autism.

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SFARI Research Roundup

Over the last 15 years, SFARI has supported more than 400 researchers studying autism and related disorders. In 2017 alone, SFARI provided funding to more than 200 investigators from around the world.

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Sparking Autism Research

SPARK aims to create a trove of genetic and behavioral data from 50,000 individuals with autism and their families. “It’s a certainty that SPARK will enable new risk-gene discovery,” says Wendy Chung.

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Tracking Twins

Instead of studying children already diagnosed with autism, Warren Jones and Ami Klin focus on those children’s younger siblings to spot the early behavioral differences underlying autism.

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Outreach And Education

Science Sandbox: The Changing Face Of Science Museums

Some people aren’t comfortable in big, formal science museums. Luckily, some museums are seeing to it that people also encounter science outside a formal setting.

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Math For America: Summer Think

The inaugural Summer Think conference continued MƒA’s mission of supporting outstanding teachers. And, importantly, all Summer Think sessions were led by and for teachers.

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Scientific Leadership

Scientific Leadership

Accomplished scientists lead the Simons Foundation’s research and grant-making divisions. These individuals bring expertise and experience to advancing mathematics and the basic sciences.

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