According to rich-people newspaper of record The Financial Times, James Simons is “the world’s smartest billionaire.” And there’s no doubt that Boston-born Simons is a bit of a math nerd: His heroes are Archimedes and calculus master Leonhard Euler. Hell, he’d need his Berkeley PhD to even understand his own holdings.
Simons recently sat down with Numberphile to dicuss his diverse intellectual achievements (manifold topology, NSA codebreaking) and ludicrous wealth. The notoriously press-shy hedge funder, who also happens to be a major democratic donor, saber rattles on behalf of scientific research and Simons despairs the current state of high school math teachers. In the end, he concludes that the interview was “kind of fun,” which seems like a pretty apt description of Simons himself.