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Simons Foundation 25th Anniversary

Commemorating 25 years of advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences



In 1994, the Simons Foundation was born. To commemorate the anniversary, we published a book containing more than three dozen articles about the scientific and mathematical things we find beautiful; the mysteries we love; the science we’ve learned in 25 years; the contributions we’ve made in that time; and the problems we hope to solve by our 50th birthday. Below are the online versions of some of the articles. The entire book is available as PDF.

Featured Articles

May 29, 2020

Can Autism Therapy Be Tailored?

May 29, 2020

Leveraging personalized genomics can aid the development of effective autism therapies, promising new research suggests.

May 18, 2020

Deconstructing Machine Learning’s Black Box

May 18, 2020

AI can recognize faces, drive cars and simulate the universe, but precisely how it works remains unknown. Flatiron Institute scientists plan to solve the mystery.

May 06, 2020

Bernard Riemann: An Intuitive Mathematical Mind

May 06, 2020

May 06, 2020

Finding Prime Locations: The Continuing Challenge to Prove the Riemann Hypothesis

May 06, 2020

The 160-year-old Riemann hypothesis has deep connections to the distribution of prime numbers and remains one of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics.

May 06, 2020

Hilbert’s Problems: 23 and Math

May 06, 2020

David Hilbert put forth 23 problems that helped set the research agenda for mathematics in the 20th century. Here is a status report on those challenges.

April 29, 2020

Mutations in Uncharted Territory

April 29, 2020

Genetic dark matter makes up 98 percent of our genomes, yet scientists are still figuring out how it works.

April 22, 2020

Bang, Bounce or Something Else?

April 22, 2020

Time began at the Big Bang — or did it? Alternative ideas, including a universe that repeatedly reboots itself, suggest something came before the Big Bang.

April 15, 2020

History of the Autism Mystery

April 15, 2020

Despite numerous breakthroughs into the causes of autism, many mysteries about the condition remain.

April 09, 2020

Deciphering the Brain’s Algorithms

April 09, 2020

Solving the mysteries of the brain requires reverse engineering the rules and patterns that control it.

April 09, 2020

Neural Coding: A Truly Cerebral Puzzle

April 09, 2020

Individual neurons and regions of the brain can encode surprisingly strange combinations of information.

April 01, 2020

Tell Us About the Special

April 01, 2020

By Stacey Greenbaum

How the Simonses developed their own algorithm for excellence in science philanthropy.

March 23, 2020

A Cosmic Merger Over Vegan Sprouts

March 23, 2020

By Brian Keating

The director of the Simons Observatory describes the origin of the observatory, which aims to explain the origin of the universe.

March 19, 2020

Inventing Tools for Others: Supercharging Studies of Autism Genetics

March 19, 2020

To speed discovery, SFARI decided to break the traditional approach in which each laboratory collects its own datasets and keeps them close to the vest.

March 12, 2020

A Collaborative Checklist: How We Select Projects

March 12, 2020

Seven general criteria and considerations are top of mind when we decide on collaborations to support.

March 12, 2020

Working as a Team: Collaborations as a Key to Breakthroughs

March 12, 2020

By bringing researchers together to focus on specific scientific goals, we hope to accelerate the pace of discovery.

March 09, 2020

The Flatiron Institute: A Home for Computational Sciences

March 09, 2020

The institute has grown from a beautiful proposal into a bustling hub for computational science in astrophysics, biology, mathematics and quantum physics.

March 02, 2020

A Quantum Continuation for Moore’s Law?

March 02, 2020

March 02, 2020

A Reckoning for Moore’s Law

March 02, 2020

By Ian Fisk

Why upgrading your computer every two years no longer makes sense.

February 27, 2020

A Conversation With Gerald Fischbach

February 27, 2020

We asked the foundation's distinguished scientist, who joined us in 2006 to lead the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), to reflect on the initiative and its accomplishments.

February 21, 2020

Rethinking the Spectrum: Three Things We Thought Were True About Autism

February 21, 2020

The push to gain a deep understanding of the genetics and neurobiology of autism has forced scientists to reexamine three ideas about the condition.

February 20, 2020

The Universe’s Dark Expanding Mystery

February 20, 2020

By David Spergel

When it comes to the composition of the universe, we’ve made significant progress in finding out how little we know.

February 14, 2020

Many’s Not Too Many Anymore for Quantum Systems

February 14, 2020

Describing many-body quantum systems is generally next to impossible, physicists thought — until they realized that localized entanglement holds the key.

February 13, 2020

Four Ways to Find New Worlds

February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

Our Solo System: Exoplanets Reveal How Unique We Are

February 13, 2020

By Phil Armitage

Rocky planets inside, gas giants outside — we thought our solar system was typical. But the discovery of worlds around other stars has altered that view.

February 06, 2020

Symmetry in Relativity

February 06, 2020

February 06, 2020

How Symmetry Guides Our Search for Truth

February 06, 2020

With its aesthetic appeal, symmetry has been a beacon for mathematicians and physicists.

February 05, 2020

Beauty and the Brain

February 05, 2020

Cerebral fascinations: We asked our neuroscientists why they find the brain beautiful.

January 31, 2020

Sea Life You Can’t See: The Beauty of Ocean Microbes Revealed

January 31, 2020

January 30, 2020

You’re Not All Human: The Wonder of Gut Microbes

January 30, 2020

The finely tuned collection of bacteria, archaea and fungi collectively known as the microbiome hold an exquisite power that we are only beginning to recognize.

January 22, 2020

The Simons Foundation: How Did We Get Here?

January 22, 2020

By Marilyn Hawrys Simons

The president of the Simons Foundation describes the growth of the organization and the evolution of its culture.

January 22, 2020

James Simons: My Guiding Principles

January 22, 2020

By James H. Simons

The chair of the Simons Foundation describes his five principles for building a successful organization.

January 22, 2020

Simons Foundation Timeline

January 22, 2020

Commemorating 25 years of advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences

January 22, 2020

Curiosity Is More Beautiful Than Ignorance

January 22, 2020

By John Ewing

Even the most abstract mathematics or science is surprisingly useful. But should we be surprised by that?

January 22, 2020

Three Dignities and the Progress of Science

January 22, 2020

By Andrew Millis

Roger Bacon’s ‘three dignities’ illustrate not only how experimentation verifies and disproves theories but also how it produces new knowledge, even in mathematics.

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