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Mathematics Institute adds $10 million to its coffers

The Berkeley-based Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) received a $10 million endowment today, the largest single cash amount pledged to the research group in its 25-year history.

Given by the Simons Foundation, a charitable organization started by renowned mathematician James Simons, the endowment will be used to support distinguished professors visiting the research institute for special projects.

Half of the money will go towards creating the endowment, called the Eisenbud Professorship, named after the institute's Director David Eisenbud. The other half will be used to match future donations to the endowment, according to the institute.

"I'm particularly honored and gratified that Jim Simons has chosen to place a professorship in my name," Eisenbud said in a statement. "MSRI is of enormous importance to the mathematics community, so it gives me the greatest pleasure to see this first step towards an endowment."

Simons himself has been a member of the institute's Board for over eight years. His donation is the largest gift ever given to U.S.-based mathematics institute.

"This wonderful gesture reflects Jim Simons' deep passion for mathematics," MSRI Board of Trustees Chair Charles Fefferman said. "We hope this extraordinary gift will help bring forth at MSRI future breakthroughs of the stature of the Chern-Simons Invariants. We are all deeply grateful."

The Chern-Simons Invariants, developed by Simons and Shiing-Shen Chern in 1974, helped mathematicians and physicists with the application of certain measurements.

Simons went on to later become president of the $20 billion company Renaissance Technologies Corp.