James H. Simons: Mathematics, Common Sense and Good Luck

September 9, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Welcome to the–welcome to this evening
main event or only event. And so this will be–this is part as you know of the American
Mathematical Society meeting of the western section that’s taking care of–that’s taking
place on campus this weekend and it’s also part of the Bay Area Science Festival. And
it’s cosponsored by the American Math Society, the Bay Area Science Festival and Mathematical
Science Research Institute in Berkeley. And I’m just going to introduce the introducer.
I’m the–I’m Michel Lapidus, the AMS associate secretary in charge of this meeting. And our
introducer tonight is David Eisenbud, who is a former president of the American Mathematical
Society and current director of the MSRI, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in
Berkeley. [ Applause ]>>My great pleasure tonight to introduce
Jim Simons, a dear and now, old friend. He’s going to talk about luck and I want to talk
about luck too and I’ll start with a sort of personal story. My father, Leonard Eisenbud,
was a physicist and joined the physics department of Stony Brook in 1957, just one year after
it started. Stony Brook is a great place now but it had growing pains. And at one point,
the math department was in such terrible shape that the provost felt he needed to have a
committee of outsiders to find a new chair and–that no one in the department would do.
So they went searching for an outside chair. Various people applied and my father was on
the committee that was to make the choice and they made some pretty questionable choices,
among them this inexperienced young guy Jim Simons. Never done any administration before
and really is too young for the job. And they interviewed the candidates and the provost,
when he interviewed Jim, according to Jim said, “You know, of all the people I’ve interviewed,
you are the only one who actually seems to want the job.” [ Laughter ] And indeed, nobody else took the job and Jim
did. Talk about luck for Stony Brook. I feel I’ve been touched by that luck too in getting
to know Jim. PhD from Berkeley in 1958 with Bertram Kostant whom I saw in the audience
a moment ago. Where is Bertram Kostant? Somewhere around, unless he left again.>>61.>>61, oh. As your Wikipedia entries [inaudible]
that. He was the winner of the AMS Veblen Prize in 1976. Is that the right thing? He
discovered that minimal manifolds can have singularities starting in Dimension 7, not
such an obvious construction. Now, very famous for Chern-Simons theory which is applied in
math and physics in all kinds of unexpected ways. In 1982, a change of life, he founded
Renaissance Technologies and in some sense, the amazing chapter really–even more amazing
chapter started then. He did nothing but use math and a lot of talented people’s work too
to become one of the richest men on earth and has now been sharing his wealth and his
luck with the rest of us who are here. And I will all share the luck again in listening
to Jim himself. Jim. [ Applause ]>>This is a high thing. OK. I guess you can
hear me. Thank you very much for such a nice introduction. So I’m going to kind of talk
about my life and its various peregrinations. Some of it about math and some of it about
commonsense, and some of it about good luck, and then I’ll take some questions if there
are any. So, I always liked math when I was a little kid. I didn’t think of it as math,
just numbers and having fun. But I discovered Zeno’s–and so this is proof of my thoughtfulness
as a child. I discovered Zeno’s paradox at about four years old, not knowing it was anybody’s
paradox or not knowing what the word paradox meant. But I learned from my father, to my
horror, that a car could run out of gasoline. And I said, “Whoa. It shouldn’t run out. You
could use half of what you have and then you could use half of that and then you could
use half of that and you’ll never run out.” And it didn’t occur to me that you’d never
get anywhere either but on the other hand–so my family doctor, Dr. Kaplan [assumed spelling],
he knew I was a bright boy and he said, “Well, you know, bright Jewish boy, you should be
a doctor. You know, that’s a great field.” And I wanted nothing less than to be a doctor.
And I said, “Well, I don’t really want to be a doctor. You know, I want to do something
like with engineering or math or something.” I didn’t know much. I was about eight years
old. And he said, “Well, you know, you can’t make any money doing that stuff.” And I said–and,
you know, it didn’t seem to be very much of an impediment at eight years old. I wasn’t
thinking about making a lot of money, I was just thinking that I did not want to be a
doctor which was a very good choice for me and it turns out for anyone who would have
the unfortunateness to be my patient as I would not have done a very good job. But I
did like working and my first job was as a stock boy in Breck’s garden supply during
the Christmas season. They hired kids, a few people and I got this job. A stock boy works
down in a basement in this particular place looking, you know, bringing stuff up to the
floor and putting stuff away. But I was not a good stock boy because I could never remember
where anything went, that it seemed to be no rhyme or reason, no order, it wasn’t alphabetized
or anything like that, you just had to know where things were. So the two people who ran
it, they realized I was a failure as a stock boy. But I was there so they said, “OK. You
can sweep the floor.” And I love that job. So then, I had a big push broom and sawdust
and I could throw the sawdust in the floor and push the broom and walk up and down keeping
the floor as clean and thinking which I enjoyed to do–enjoyed doing very much. And it came
to the end and Christmas was past and it was time for me to leave. So this couple sat me
down and said goodbye and so on and asked me what I was going to do. I was I think 14
and I said, “Oh, I’m going to study mathematics. I think I want to go to MIT.” Well they laughed
very, very hard. And I’m sure they were thinking this kiddo doesn’t even know where the dried
sheep manure is and he’s going to go to MIT and study mathematics. Well, I did. I never
got back to them and said see, I did that. But I did. And I went to MIT and did study
mathematics and realized that, you know, one could be a mathematician. But I really had
an epiphany when I learned Stokes’ theorem. Now, I guess you’re all mathematicians so
you probably know Stokes’ theorem. You integrate one thing over a boundary and you take its
differential and you–that’s the same as integrating that over the interior or something. And that,
you know, is a great generalization of the fundamental theorem of calculus and it works
at all dimensions. And I thought it was the most beautiful thing, that theorem. And it
really made me appreciate mathematics, it made me want to become–go into this field
of differential geometry which I had sort of gradually learned existed. And what sealed
the deal was a delicatessen called Jack & Marion’s in Boston. It’s not there anymore, I’m afraid,
but it was quite a place and it was open very late at night and as an undergraduate, we
used to go there and hang out and eat maybe at 2 in the morning because young kids can
eat at all hours as some of you perhaps remember. But frequently, Is Singer and Warren Ambrose,
I guess everyone has heard of Singer, and Ambrose was an older fellow. He must have
been 50. He seemed ancient to me although he was a great teacher. They would show up
there and work. They’d go over to some booth and drink coffee and do mathematics. And I
thought my God, you know, what a great life. You know, here are these grownups, you know,
and they are doing this stuff, they’re doing it in dress and suits, they just had, you
know, regular outdoor clothes and I said what a life this is. It’s 2 in the morning, over
sandwiches talking about math. So it was clear that that was for me. I graduated MIT. I graduated
early but I stayed one more year at graduate school. But when I graduated, which is in
1958, see, that’s where the ’58 came from. Where was David? He confused those dates,
’58. I did something that was actually an example of having no commonsense at all but
it turned out that there was some good luck involved. In those days, motor scooters had
just been becoming popular, you know, Vespas and they were Italian. It was either a Vespa
or a Lambretta. Those were the two choices you had. And we decided, I and a friend from
Colombia, South America, an MIT friend who was not a mathematician, we decided to ride
motor scooters–get motor scooters, we didn’t have them. We didn’t even know how to ride
motor scooters but we felt it couldn’t be that difficult. We’re going to ride them from
Boston to Buenos Aires. [ Laughter ] Yeah. Well, Boston–they both began with B,
you know, Boston to Buenos Aires. And we got the motor scooters and a third guy joined
the gang. And we did get halfway, we got to Bogota and that took seven weeks. And I at
least almost died. I came extremely close to death. I think I never told my mother that.
If my mother had had the slightest idea of how dangerous that trip was, she wouldn’t
let me go but for some reason, she did. And so I got there. Now, one of the themes of
this talk is how important partners are and people that you work with. And so this fellow,
this Colombian boy and his friend subsequently became my first partners in a business venture
which I’ll get to in a minute. But–So it was lucky on that account but it showed little
signs of commonsense. Anyway, I spent one year in MIT as a graduate student. I thought
I’d been with MIT long enough that I should go to Berkeley and meet Chern, the great geometer
of the day and get a proper education with differential geometry since that’s what I
seem to like. So I went there and I got a nice fellowship, I went to Berkeley. The only
thing is that Chern did not go to Berkeley. Chern was coming to Berkeley that year that’s
why they said I should go there too but Chern perhaps knowing I was coming decided to go
somewhere else for that year. I guess he was on sabbatical or something. So I didn’t see
Chern. But I worked with Kostant. Someone told me Bert Kostant was here. Is he here?
No he’s not here. I think maybe I didn’t really see him. But anyway, I worked with a fellow
named Bert Kostant. But the first thing that I did when I got to Berkeley or very early
was–well, I got married actually. I got married within a month of getting there and there
was a wedding and we even got wedding presents. And so–which was cash. So I had–we had some
money and I thought well, it’s just lying there. We should invest it. I didn’t know
anything at all about investing but I knew that one could invest money. So I went to
Merrill Lynch and I was, you know, now I was 21 years old. And said I want to open an account
and there were two stocks that I thought would be just terrific and I want to buy these stocks.
Well, I said OK and I bought the stocks and–but I’m an impatient guy and after a month, nothing
happened. It didn’t go down, it didn’t go up, it didn’t go anywhere. So I was bored
with that thing. So I went back and said, “Well, isn’t there something that’s a little
more lively that I could, you know, you have any ideas?” Oh yeah. He said, soybeans. You
should buy soybeans. Now, I had heard of soybeans. I’ve never eaten one myself. It turns out
perhaps most people haven’t ever eaten a soybean. But pigs eat them in great quantities and
cows and so on. But I said, “Well, what does that mean exactly?” He said, “Well, you know,
when you buy 5000 bushels, that’s a contract. It’s a futures market. Our guys tell us soybeans
are going through the roof. You’d make a lot of money.” I said OK. So I bought two contracts
of soybeans and they did. They went up, I was making money, they went down, I was losing
money. I sold them both, I got nervous then I bought one contract. Meanwhile, I was going
back and forth from Berkeley into San Francisco early in the morning to watch the soybean
market. And, you know, early was, you know, 8 o’clock in the morning already I was out,
I mean, that was very early for a graduate student. And after a couple of weeks, I came
to the most sensible conclusion of my life I think. I said, I’m either going to write
a thesis or trade soybeans because you couldn’t possibly do both. And I came to that realization
at a good point. I had a very small profit. OK. I’m closing out the profit. And it was
years before I ever traded a soybean again although the occasion did rise. So–then I
went and worked on it. I mean, you couldn’t do both. You couldn’t write a thesis and trade
soybeans. Anyway, I couldn’t. So I did write a thesis and it was a very gratifying experience.
I wrote it. I’m sorry Bert is not here but–so I got some results which I showed to my professor
and he said, “Oh, those are very interesting. That’s nice.” [Inaudible] suggests that a
question that’s open about holonomy groups. Anyone know what a holonomy group is? Probably
a lot of you know what holonomy–anyway, OK. Yes. OK. Some of you. Anyway, it’s a group
that’s associated to a connection on a manifold. Let’s say, on the tangent bundle, you can
parallel translate all around and come back to where you started and you move the tangent
space. And it was–had just been shown all the possible–and that’s a [inaudible] group,
it’s a linear group of linear transformations. And it had recently been shown that there
was a list of all the possible candidates for holonomy groups on an irreducible manifold,
one you couldn’t write as a product of two other Riemannian manifolds. And that list
happened to include only groups that were transitive on the unit sphere. So, everyone
of those groups, you would take any point on the sphere, in the tangent space and bring
it to any other points. So it was transitive. And so that was kind of a question. Well,
why are they all transitive on the sphere? And I said, “Oh, I want to try that problem.”
And he said, “Don’t do that.” He said, “That’s a very hard problem.” You know, [inaudible]
tried it, he couldn’t figure out, you know. So that was like throwing gasoline on the
fire. Well, I’m going to do that problem. And by, well, perhaps a miracle, I did. So
that was a good thesis. I was very pleased. I’ve had some interactions with Singer along
the way because he was interested in that problem and we talked about a little bit or
wrote to each other. And so then, they finished that and they hired me and I went to MIT and
became a Moore instructor. But–OK. So now, I was an instructor at MIT. But I still had
this sort of, I don’t know, urge to do something different and when I had been in Colombia
on my motor scooter trip and we got to Bogota and I saw Colombia and my friends, it was
a very exciting country. You could do anything there it seemed. All kinds of things could
be manufactured in one thing or another. And I had this friend down there who was very
smart. In fact, two friends. And I said, you know, you guys ought to start a business.
And they said, well, I don’t know. I said, OK. I’m going to come down to Colombia and
I won’t leave until we find a business. And not that I had any money particularly to invest
in this business or it turned out I did have a little bit and I stayed there two weeks,
we found a business, they said they were going to do it. The father of one of them [inaudible]
the money. I said, OK. I’ll scrape from my father and I put up a little bit of money
and then I went back to MIT after those two weeks and of course, it took a little while
for all that to manif–take place. But I decided after that first year, you know, this is so
exciting, I’m going to move to Colombia and work in this factory, in this place, and it
was another nutty idea. And so, I took a job in the interim because the place wasn’t ready,
in fact, wouldn’t have been ready for, you know, two years or a year and a half at an
engineering place–well, some engineering company. So I quit the Moore instructorship
and I–my job was to computers were just coming and my job was to calculate Bessel functions
on a computer. Now, I didn’t know what a Bessel function was at that time although I certainly
learned what it was. And they made antennas and they needed–anyway, it was the most tedious,
horrible thing one could do was to calculate Bessel functions all day long. So I began
to really miss academia, I was friends with Bott and with Singer, all these guys and–So
I said to Singer, “You know, I think I made a mistake.” And he said, “Oh, we’ll put you
on Bott’s contract.” Bott was a great mathematician in Harvard. In those days, you had an NSF
contract, they were very loose, you could just hire someone on the contract. So I went
on Bott’s contract and then I went back and said, OK, I’ll let those boys run the factory
and I’ll just be a minority investor and I worked on mathematics which I did. And I was
working and as David mentioned minimal, minimal varieties. Minimal varieties are manifolds
that have minimal area or volume depending on the dimension with respect to their boundary.
So a soap bubble is a minimal variety in two dimensions typically–not a soap bubble but
if you take a wire frame and dip it in soap, you’ll get a film. That’s going to minimize
area. And so I was just studying that subject kind of from first principles. Almost all
the work had been very–had been analysis. But I was trying to understand the geometry
of these things and was working slowly and going along. They hired me at Harvard to be
assistant professor. So I was at Harvard for a full two years, once on Bott’s contract
and one as an assistant professor. But I actually didn’t like Harvard. I don’t know, there was
something that any Harvard men or women here today probably–Yes, there is something. Well,
maybe with you there, I would have liked it better but– [ Laughter ] And I don’t even know you. But, I don’t know,
it was a stodgy place. And also the–it’s out of the factory so I felt I needed a change.
So I went–there’s a place in Princeton that’s still going strong called the Institute for
Defense Analyses or it’s a branch of the Institute for Defense Analyses. And there, they would
hire mathematicians. In there, it was super secret. It was a very highly classified place.
They worked on secret codes and ciphers. In fact, in those days, you weren’t even allowed
to say what they’re working on. So we just–stuff. But now it’s permissible to say that’s what
they worked on. And it was–I didn’t know anything about codes and ciphers but I knew
they paid a lot and you could spend half of your time doing mathematics and half–as much
as half. And the other half, you had to work on their stuff. And that sounded pretty good.
So I moved to Princeton. And well, I loved that job. I loved everything about it. I learned
about computers, I learned first that I don’t know how to–would never know how to program
a computer with any skill whatsoever. But there were fortunately people who could. I
learned I like to make algorithms and think about testing things out on a computer. Maybe
you can crack this code with this algorithm. Most of the time, it didn’t work, sometimes
it did. It was kind of exciting. And I liked the people and I was still working away at
minimal varieties. And after maybe two years there, maybe into my third year, I solved
this sort of famous problem in the subject of minimal varieties which as David said,
I showed that you could fill in smoothly–this is in codimension 1 in Euclidean space. So
in Euclidean space, you have a boundary of one dimension lower and you’ll want two dimensions
lower like a curve and three space, whatever, and you want to fill in. And I proved that
you could do that smoothly without, you know, any singularities through ambient Dimension
7. So up to six dimensional surfaces and seven dimensional space with a five dimensional
boundary I guess it would work, you could do it, a uniform proof. But in one dimension
more, my proof broke down and I suggested a counterexample which turned out–and I couldn’t
prove it was a counterexample. It was locally stable but it might not have been globally
stable. So it’s a beautiful thing. You take the three sphere and you cross it with itself
so now you get six dimensionals thing sitting in the actual–the seven dimensional sphere
in eight space. Anyway, that’s the boundary, six dimensional boundary. The cone on that
which obviously, since it’s a cone, clearly has a vertex and a singularity. But that does
minimize volume, six to seven–seven dimensional volume. And then–so that was a good result
and I published this paper which was everything I knew about minimal variety was packed into
this paper. But it was a good paper. And so that was very nice. And so David said, I won
the Veblen Prize and that’s I guess what I wanted for some few years later. And I was
also doing good work for them. It was great but it was the Vietnam wartime if you remember.
You all know about the Vietnam War and some of you probably lived through it. And so now,
we didn’t do any work that had anything to do with the Vietnam War as far as I knew.
Although in fact, God knows what they did with what we did because I never read any
of the secret messages because we didn’t have access to that stuff, we just tried to crack
the codes. But I didn’t like the war. Now–So the boss of my boss was in Washington, DC
and he was a general named Maxwell Taylor. Some of you probably remember old Maxwell
Taylor. And he was–had been a general, now, he’d been kicked upstairs, he ran the Institute
for Defense Analyses. And he wrote an article for the New York Times, it was a cover story
in the magazine section, a Sunday paper how we’re doing so great in Vietnam, we’re going
to win the war, it’s very important, [inaudible] just hold still. It’s a terrific enterprise.
Well, I mean, I didn’t think so. And I’m sure there were others who didn’t think so. But
I wrote a letter to the Times saying not everyone who works for General Taylor shares his views.
In fact, I think the whole thing is stupid and– [ Laughter ] I mean, the words were classier than that
but that was the effect of the letter and they published that letter eagerly I’m sure
because, you know, no one said anything. I didn’t hear anything from my superiors, I
heard plenty from my friends but OK, you know. But then a few months later, a young guy came,
sought me out and he told me he was a reporter for Newsweek magazine. I think it still exists
but in those days, it was one of the two big news weekly, that and Time magazine. You’re
doing a story in Newsweek magazine on people who work for the Defense Department who are
opposed to the war. And he said, “I don’t have many takers because–but I wonder if
I could interview you?” Well, I was 29 years old, no one had ever asked me for an interview
before. And I thought oh, sure. Of course, you can interview me. So he interviewed me.
And, you know, so the bottom line was I said, “Well, the rule IDA is you have to spend half
of your time at their stuff and you can spend half of your time with your own stuff. And
my algorithm now is–but I’m spending all my time on mathematics and when the war is
over, I’ll spend an equal amount of all my time at their stuff so I’ll make it all up
and so that’s what I’m doing. That’s what I’m doing. Yeah, exactly, oh-ho-ho-ho because–and
it wasn’t even quite true but it was close to being true. Anyway, then I did the only
intelligent thing I had done that day. I told my boss that I gave this interview, [inaudible]
more intelligent but I told him before I gave the interview but I didn’t, I told him after.
He said, “You did?” He said, “Why did you say?” I said, “Well, I told him about my half
and a half proposition and so and so.” He says, “I have to call Taylor”, his boss. So
he called Taylor. My memory is a little faint on this point but I think he may have called
him in my presence or maybe I had leaved the room. But it seemed like only a microsecond
before he told me, “You’re fired.” [ Laughter ] And I said, well–I said, you know, my title
is permanent member of the– [ Laughter ] –permanent member of this outfit. He said,
“Well, it used to be a temporary member.” He said, “I’ll tell you the difference between
a temporary member and a permanent member.” He said, “A temporary member has a contract
and a permanent doesn’t.” So I didn’t have a leg to stand on. They may have given me
a week severance. I don’t remember what the deal was but they were probably more generous.
And anyway, there I was. I didn’t have a job. I had a wife, three kids and no job. But I
wasn’t, you know, I proved this theorem, I know I could get an academic job. And so I
wasn’t, you know, terrified at the prospect. It was all kind of exhilarating actually being
fired. I think it’s good once. You shouldn’t make a habit of it. You shouldn’t make a habit
of being fired but once is perhaps salutary. Anyway, I did get as David said this offer
at Stony Brook to be chair and I thought that would really be fun. As I’ve said before,
I thought it would be better to be the firor [phonetic] than the firee. And the department
was not strong, they had a great physics department at that. And it was a very new university
and I had a wonderful time building a department. And I met Frank Yang, the famous physicist
who was there and we became friends and we had an interesting interaction. And so he
would–after a few months, he invited me up to his office, he was going to tell me what
he was doing. I didn’t know any physics but he was, you know, Nobel Prize winning great
man and I figured I’d go up and get a lecture. And so I sat down and he told me what he was
doing. He covered the board with equations so I didn’t understand a goddamned thing.
I didn’t understand anything, I didn’t know any physics but, you know, I looked and I
looked–tried to look as intelligent as possible. I thanked him very much at the end and I went
back downstairs. We repeated the same thing in year 2 and then again in year 3 but something
happened in the middle of the lecture at year 3. He kind of showed me the same equations.
They were getting familiar. And then I realized, I said stop, stop right there. He said, “Why
should I stop?” I said because you’re trying to invent mathematics that was done 30 or
40 years ago. He said, “What?” You know, what he was doing was in gauge theory, you use
bundles and they have connections. But I think he didn’t know that you could also have–there
was a thing as parallel transport and a holonomy group and all that stuff. And he was torturously
trying to create parallel translation in a bundle with a connection. And I said, you
know, mathematicians have done that. He said, “Why would they have ever done that? Why would
they study that kind of stuff?” And I said, well, it was beautiful, natural and it just
came on anyway. How can I answer that question except to say it just came out of mathematics.
So that was a great moment because he said OK. So we had a–so he organized a seminar
with members of this institute with the article physics and it was kind of a translation seminar.
I said we say this, you say that kind of thing. And he even wrote a glossary. He even wrote
some kind of book with all these things. But it was the smartest group of students I ever
had. It was his whole faculty. So I was, you know, I got to–but it was great. And they
gave me at the end, a very thick dictionary because I’m a terrible speller. They gave
me one of these things that weighs 100 pounds, you know, as a gift for that. So in the meantime,
I was doing geometry myself and I started working with Chern, the guy. We had become–he
came in the second year when I was at Berkeley having missed the first year but we became
friends. We didn’t do any science together but we became friends. And I had–while Stony
Brook came up with some geometry in three dimensions that looked quite interesting,
I showed it to him and he said, “Oh, we can do this in all dimensions. This is very exciting,”
and so–and so we worked together and developed and wrote a paper. And that was the roots
of this Chern-Simons invariants which have seem to be used in a lot of places which is,
you know, an example–I mean here, we did this math and we didn’t think, oh, it’s going
to apply to this out of the other thing. I thought maybe it will apply, you know, maybe
on a mathematics we built on it as I suppose it was. But the idea that it would find its
way into physics 10 years later and become quite ubiquitous, I mean, it’s condensed matter
physics, it’s in high energy physics, it’s in cosmology, Chern-Simons term. And, you
know, I don’t know what they’re doing with it and I don’t have the faintest idea. But
mathematics is that way and basic science is that way. You do a piece of basic science,
you know, and you don’t know where it’s going to go. But if it’s pretty good science, it
can lead to a surprising place. I mean when Maxwell developed the Maxwell equations, the
television occurred to him as a consequence. I don’t think so. You know, he just wanted
to know how the hell did his–how does this work, and obviously figured it out. So I was
doing mathematics with Chern and then with a guy named Jeff Cheeger. It grew out of that
with something called differential characters which now is kind of the root of a subject
called differential cohomology if you ever heard of that. And we got–we worked on that
and it led to questions that neither of us could figure out about rational numbers or
certain volumes, whether they’re rational or irrational. We really wanted to figure
out but couldn’t. We spent a couple of years struggling with those questions, I won’t say
where they came from. But in the meantime, my investment in Colombia paid off. So, a
part of the company was sold, I had a few bucks, my father had more but we had some
money. And my Colombian friends, God knows why, said, “OK. We have this money. We want
you to invest it for us.” Now, where they got the idea that I would be any better at
investing for them than that broker at Merrill Lynch years ago, I don’t know. But I said,
fine. I’ll do that. And I had a friend who had been a mathematician and was now a commodity
trader, and he seemed to be doing pretty well. So I said, Charlie, we have this money. Would
you manage it for us? And he said, “Yeah, of course. I’ll be happy to.” He said, “Why
not?” It was more than he’d ever seen. So he thought it was good. And so, I made a deal
with Charlie. He was going to get 25 percent of the profits. No fixed fee but 25 percent
of the profits. And I said but if we lose much money and I said, you know, if we lose
25 percent, you have to stop. After all, we don’t want to lose all the money. So that’s
a stop loss, OK? But as I was walking out of his apartment, something occurred to me
and I said, oh, also, if you make too much, we’re going to have to stop. He said, well,
how much is too much? It’s a reasonable question. I said, 10 times what we invested after your
rapacious fee. Well, how could he say no? 10 times is much. So he said fine. So that
was the other stopping rule. We stopped on that basis after 10 months. He had actually
had multiplied the money by a factor, I guess of 13, and when you take off 20–anyway, we
actually made 10 times our money. It was incredible. It was just completely lucky. He–well, I
know it was completely lucky. [ Laughter ] But there it was. So now, I really, you know,
had some money and I had followed his work. I had followed his work carefully. In fact,
he never–I had to because he never quite knew where he was. So I said, “OK. I’ll keep
the books. Every week, I’ll tell you where you stand.” He said, “OK. That’s great. It
will take that–my mind off that.” So I did that. And so I learned a little bit about
that and there was the soybeans in my youth. And I thought, OK. Mathematics is driving
me crazy. I recently gotten divorced, I was on the wrong side of the first wife. I was
involved with another woman who turned out to be my second wife and my present wife.
And I was frustrated with works like that. I’m going to go into business and be a trader.
And I did. I did do that. And I brought–I started doing some training and that was working
OK. I got some investors. I brought in a guy from IDA. He was the best cryptanalyst in
the world. He was a wonderful model maker and so–and in fact he–I don’t know if any
of you have ever heard of the Baum-Welch algorithm or the EM algorithm. Anyway, it’s a famous
algorithm in statistics. He was the Baum of Baum-Welch. So, he was a very smart guy. And
I said, “You know, I’m looking at these commodity charts. Actually it was currencies that we
were trading. And they seem to have some shape to them. They don’t look random to me. So,
maybe we could make some models.” And he said, “OK.” But it turned out–and we did. We made
a model and it looked like it was going to be OK. And it’s a trade, but we were doing
fundamental trade, and he hated the model building. He said I, you know–He loved the
fundamental trade. He loved reading the newspapers and reading the tickers and the news tickers
and getting ideas. It turned out he was for a while, very, very good. So, we put the models
aside for a while and we trade it and we did very well, we did very well. But it was a
gut wrenching experience. You know it’s–You know one day you’re walking and you think
you’re a genius. God, all my positions are in my way. Look, I’m a–And the next day you
walk in and there were [inaudible] and you feel like you’re a dope. How could I have
done what I did and so on. There was no rhyme or reason. It was just, you know, you put
your finger in the air and you try to sense which way the wind is blowing. I’ll tell you
one story to illustrate the craziness. It was a time when gold was going up. Gold had
been–you couldn’t buy or sell gold and finally you could and there was as the price was rising
and it was rising and we had a deal where Lenny, Lenny Baum and I, where we’d each have
the same–we’d each have our own account. I was the boss but we’ve each had our own
account. And in our own account in fact we both buy gold. It was supposed to be independent
and we both like gold. The gold was going up. It started at 200 and 300 and 400 and
$500, it got to $500 which by today’s standards would be like 15 or $1800. And I said, “You
know, this is a very high price. I’m getting out.” And I sold my half. But Lenny, I think
you should–No. You don’t know how high it was going to be. You can’t–This is going
to–this is going to go very, very high. I said, OK. So, he stayed at the 600, it was
700, it was 800, it goes to $800. That day, I happened to be talking to a friend of mine
on the phone who was a stockbroker. And then he in fact, he was my stockbroker. And I said,
“How are things, Dick?” And he said, “Oh, well, they’re fine. This morning my wife Lucy
came in to my closet and cleaned out all of my–all tie clasps and cufflinks and went
downtown to sell them. Gold. They were gold. They were gold, see? And I said, well, I–are
you having a hard time in your family? Why is she–so your wife–Oh, he says, “You know
she’s a jeweler.” I said, “Yes, I know that.” So he said, so she only has to stand in the
short line.” I said, “What do you mean the short line?” He says, “Don’t you know that
people are lining up and standing for hours selling their gold?” I said, “No, I did know
that. Thank you very much.” [ Laughter ] We had a phone in those days. If you picked
it up–it was a different phone. If you picked it up, you went right to the floor of the
commodity exchange. And I got Lenny in the office and I put the phone up to his ear and
I said, “Lenny, sell the gold.” In fact I–And he said, “No, no, no, no.” I said, “Lenny,
I’m the boss. Sell the blankety blank gold.” I was more emphatic than that. He said, “All
right, all right.” So, he sold the gold and maybe it was $810. Oh, he was mad. And the
next day we came in and it opened at $830. And oh, he said [inaudible]. I told you. By
the end of that day, it had dropped 25 percent. It was down to $600 all in one day and it
never of course went back up. So, that is an example of commonsense and very good luck.
The good luck–if I hadn’t called my stockbroker the day I did, Lenny would have held on to
that gold, it would have gone to–it went back to 200 after a while. It would have wrote
it out–written it all the way down, I think. And so, it was just playing luck that I have,
but it was at least commonsense that out of everyone in the world is trying to sell that
gold, how long can it be going up, you know. There is such a thing as supply and demand.
So, there it was. So, that was what it was like to be a fundamental trader. It was stomach
wrenching. So, Jim Ax, I got Jim Ax, who was a very well known algebraist to come and work
for us and he was interested in the models of Lenny [inaudible] and he got a good computer
programmer and we built some models and he showed that the models used for currencies
would work for all commodities and we were on our way with models. And well, we kept
fundamental trading but more and more we were trading the models, and finally it took about
eight years, the models were good enough and we went to all models. And then we started
the company. This was a [inaudible] and we started the company called Renaissance Technologies
which has been going ever since. And as 300 people has 90 PhDs and it’s 100 percent, it’s
100 percent model and it’s been remarkably profitable for a long time. And other mathematicians
came in to help. I don’t know if Elwyn Berlekamp is here. Maybe some of you know Elwyn. Henry
Laufer joined us and each made important contributions. So, it has been remarkably successful. So,
people said, well, what’s the secret and–well, there are a lot of little secret because the
way this works, you have a lot of smart guys and they keep inching away and getting a new
idea here and a new idea there and you pile them together and soon you have an awful lot
of little ideas that are independent of each other and you can, you know, you can make
some progress. Bu the–I think–So, people say what’s the secret sauce. But the secret
sauce was really in the first instance having very smart people working for the firm. We
were academics ourselves, we had an idea of who was a good scientist and who wasn’t and
we brought in and continued to bring in excellent people, not just mathematicians but computer
scientists, statisticians, experimental physicist, astronomers, we got four or five astronomers
who are good, it look at data. They can’t do experiments. I have to–you can’t make
this star bump into that star. You just have to–You have to take it as it is and that’s,
you know, and make model. So, great scientists. We built a terrific infrastructure. The computer
guys are wonderful. We’ve taken–I need to take in nine terabytes a day of data comes
into that outfit. And it all get stored and organized and dished up to the researchers
and so on. So, it’s a great infrastructure. It’s an open atmosphere. Everybody knows what
everybody else is doing. And every week there’s a research meeting if you’d have a good idea
that you think it’s going to go somewhere, you present it. If it looks good it’s goes
to a small meeting. People [inaudible] it more carefully but there aren’t little groups
working in the dark, well, this is my little system and I want [inaudible] this. So–And
that’s the best way to do science I think in a collaborative manner. Sure you don’t
immediately at first time you get–you have a thought, you know, run down the hallways
say I have a thought. But, you know, you test that out a little bit. But–So, I think that’s
a very good way to do things. Everybody has a piece of the profits, all the senior people
own part of the business and that I think is good too. So, we have very little turnover
and we tried everything worldwide. We try that it runs 24 hours a day, not 7 days a
week but I guess 5. And then the only rule is we never override the computer. No one
ever comes in any day and says the computer wants to do this. That’s crazy, we shouldn’t
do it. You don’t do it. Because you can’t simulate that. You can’t study the past and
wonder whether the boss was going to come in and change his mind about something. So,
we just stick with it and it’s worked. So, well–So, obviously I make money and in 1974
with my wife Marilyn, we started a foundation [inaudible]. We’ve been giving money away
and Marilyn thought, “Hey, we should have a foundation.” So, we had a foundation. And
it was a one woman foundation. It was in her dressing room and she had a little box with
records and so on. She studied accounting. She was a–actually a PhD in econometrics
but she didn’t know anything about accounting. And so she took a night course in accounting.
And I put something on the door for addressing it and there was a wonderful cartoon. It showed
a medieval setting, big castle with a tower and someone was standing on the tower addressing
the multitudes below. And one of the multitudes people said to the–his neighbor and to think
he started life as an accountant. So– [ Laughter ] So she studied accounting and we built up
the foundation. Initially, we gave money very broadly to social causes, to universities,
to a variety of things. But in 2004, so just 10 years ago, we decided to just focus on
basic science and other kinds of giving that we did were done outside of the foundation
and the foundation grew, and it’s a–it’s a very–it’s very good, it’s a good foundation.
We have a–the launch project on the causes of autism, just trying to understand that.
It’s really a lot of genetics and neuroscience. We have less applied things and look various
aspects of life science. We have a math and physical science program. In fact that David
Eisenbud who us sitting right there helped to organize for us which we have various kinds
of grants and programs and one thing or another. And we also have started in the last few years
goal driven collaborative projects. So that’s a–as it’s stated, it’s a collaborative project
consisting of maybe 10, 20, 30, 40 sometimes 50 scientists typically in different places
but all working towards a common end. We have one on the origins of life which is an underfunded
thing. You can imagine the NSF is going to–certainly not the NIH. It’s not going to give you any
money for the origins of life. But it’s really fascinating and those–that’s a project. We
have a project called “Many Electrons” which is sort of a material science, condensed matter,
physics trying to model the clouds of electrons inside materials. That’s a many body problem
really but you have not only is it many bodies which electrons that would normally repel
each other but you also have there entangled if you guys know what entanglement means.
It’s a strange phenomenon in quantum mechanics. So, modeling these big clouds of electrons
is extremely difficult to do even though the first principles are well known but so what?
And so, that’s a project and that’s going quite well actually. We have a project in
microbial oceanography studying all the interactions between the myriad of microbes in the oceans
and a number of other things. So it’s a–it’s quite a vibrant foundation and I think maybe
some people here have been beneficiaries. Anyone who haven’t gotten the grant from us?
Yeah. Oh, now you’re all in the first row. [ Laughter ] OK. I didn’t realize that. OK. Well, I mean
I knew some people here that grants. So we give all kinds–Oh, there’s someone way back
there. Why aren’t you in the first row with these beautiful girls? So that’s–that’s the
foundation. Now, actually under less than wonderful circumstances, I went back to my
older age and to do mathematics again. And, in 19–in 2004, we lost a son, we lost one
of our sons, and that was obviously very sad. And kind of as a refuge, I just started thinking
about math. And, you know, doing mathematics, you then retreat into your head and you’re
just thinking about a problem and it can blot out other stuff. And I thought about a problem
in what’s now called differential cohomology that I had thought about before and then I
got serious about it and it turns out I later discovered there was a group of Germans–any
Germans in the audience? Well, anyway. OK, there are some Germans in the audience. Who
were working on the same problem and I didn’t know that at that time. But I got an idea
of how to solve it. It was–But it needed some topology which was beyond me and I spoke
to my friend Dennis Sullivan who probably you’ve heard of, who is a great topologist
and together we solved this problem, we beat out the Germans. They were very nice Germans
actually. They came over and they had some other results that we didn’t have and so on.
And so it was all very collegial, but nonetheless we beat them and– [ Laughter ] So that was, that was gratifying. And since
then, I’ve been–I’ve written a couple of other papers with Dennis so I’m back, you
know, small way doing some mathematics. So I retired from Renaissance in–five years
ago, 2009, and well, I’m the chair so I go to a monthly meeting. But those guys are doing
a wonderful job, Peter Brown and Bob Mercer who came out of IBM 20 years ago and they
have ran the speech recognition group for IBM and they came and then they kept bringing
the members of their group to Renaissance and now they’re running the company. So–And
I’ve just been focusing on the foundation. In fact one of our–I mentioned the other
programs in the basic science program, we have a program called Math for America in
New York City which John Ewing who was formally the head of–the executive director of the
math–American Math Society who was here. There he is with his wife Janice and John
runs that program and it’s a very successful program of getting competent teachers and
rewarding them in the New York City schools and now in the state schools as well. And
so, that’s what I do. So I gave a similar talk some years ago and my wife said, “Well,
you know you ought to talk–and to talk with your values. Values I know it. I said–I remember–I
think we were in the car I said–I’m not sure I have any values. I don’t know. I don’t know
what my values are exactly. But, I said–But I have some guiding principles. So we call
them guiding principles which I–Looking back, I think I’ve probably fall. And so I have
five guiding principles. And I will tell you. So one of them is don’t run with the pack.
Try to do something that’s original. Well, of course you want to do something original.
But sometimes, its–in math or in science in general, everyone is just kind of only
to solve the same problem, do the same thing. If you’re really fast, maybe you’re going
to be the winner. But its better, I think, probably you’re not going to be the winner
but if you can sort of doing and run around things. Think about something that other people
aren’t thinking about, that’s a pretty good way to do things. Now, I’ve partnered with
a lot of people and I think that partnering with people is terrific but you want to partner
with wonderful people. And in the names I’ve mentioned, Chern and Sullivan and various
people, John Ewing, they’ve been really outstanding–and David Eisenbud–outstanding people and you
can live with your own efforts and sometimes you get, you know, partnered up with people
who are smarter than you but that’s fine. And it’s–But just to have good choice in
the partnership and I did that and I always try to do that. A third principle is be guided
by beauty. Now, you all are mathematicians and you know that mathematics is beautiful
and you know when an equation is greater or idea is very pretty and so on and that’s a
wonderful aesthetic to follow but it’s not just true in mathematics. There are aesthetics
in other enterprises or a well run business is kind of a beautiful thing. If everything
is just working just right and the pieces are meshing and it’s a good organization,
that’s kind of beautiful and it’s a–So, beauty is a–it could be a good guide. The last–well,
the penultimate principle is don’t give up [inaudible]. Now, sometimes a discretion is
the better part of valor and you can just say, the hell with it. But–and go on to something
else and that’s a decision that we’ve all made at one time or another. But persistence
has a lot of value and something that’s really worthwhile can take a lot of time to come
to fruition and you ought to have patience if you believe in something to stick with
it. And my final principle is hope for good luck. And that’s it. So, thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>We have a few minutes for questions, so
the floor is open.>>OK. Who has a question? All right, there’s
one there. And speak loudly. [ Inaudible Remark ] Well, I’ve not done a lot of things. [ Laughter ] So the question is when do you–do I have
any wisdom about when not to do something. And–Well, I don’t think I have any wisdom
on that than anyone else. It looks like a room full of sensible people. And you probably
can, you know, you’ve had a lot of opportunities to say no and it’s–and in particular, being
head of a foundation, you really need to know how to say no because, you know, if you–well
anyway, I was going to tell a joke but I won’t. OK. Another question? Yeah? [ Inaudible Remark ] I can’t hear you. [ Inaudible Remark ] OK. My thoughts on the hedge fund industry
today, do I think it’s working right or I think it’s–or what’s right or what’s wrong.
Well, there are a lot of hedge funds today. When I started this, there were a lot fewer.
A hedge fund, for those of you who don’t know what they are, is a fund that people invest
in. The managers charge a percentage of the profits, typically let’s say 20 percent and
a fixed fee to maybe 1 or 2 percent and they manage the money and then you hopefully will
benefit from it. Hedge funds have ebbed and flow–and ebbed and flowed, I don’t know what
the word is. They’ve got–they’ve waxed and waned, that they’ve got better and they’ve
got worse, they go through periods where they seem to be doing all very well. The last two
years hedge funds have not done very well but the markets have–one of the things that’s
good about–some hedge funds buy and sell things and they go long and they go short.
You need a certain amount of volatility to make that work. If nothing is really moving,
then it’s hard to make money. There’s a lot of competition in hedge funds. There’s an
awful lot of them today, so I think probably as a whole industry it’s not as successful
as perhaps it was when there were fewer but there are certainly some good hedge funds,
and they come in all stripes, where our fund as I’ve told you was 100 percent systematic
and there aren’t very many of those but there are some and few of them are good. But there
are many that have other policies and do fundamental trading and, you know, it’s a range of approaches.
So, that’s all I can say about hedge funds, I think, OK? [ Inaudible Remark ] What’s the reason– [ Inaudible Remark ] –on these collaborative goal-driven things?
Well, it’s not our only focus. It’s shaping up to be about a third of what we’ll do, of
what we’re doing and it’s not there yet. I find it challenging and enjoyable. It’s–Our
autism project, which is certainly goal-driven and it is collaborative has shown me, yeah,
this is a pretty good way to make progress. And I like working with people and I like
seeing people working together, so you have to be careful. You understand that the goal
may be far off but if they’re making progress like this origins of life. I mean, you know,
I don’t think in my lifetime I’m going to know the answer which is really what’s a completely
plausible path let’s say to RNA or something like that. From first principles how do we
get to that? On the other hand, I see they’re making some really nice progress and how this
chemical came to in existence so that–and they’re also looking at exoplanets and seeing
and they can look at atmospheres of exosplanets and see what planets might have atmospheres
that would be conducive to life. So, a lot of science will get done and gradually we’ll–you
know, eventually, maybe we’ll find the answer. So, I like that approach. It’s not the only
approach. Most of the money we give out in mathematics is to individual researchers and
so on and all those people who held up their hands or individuals, but I like that. Yes? [ Inaudible Remark ] When I was a kid how did my parents helped
foster my mathematical knowledge. That’s the question and the answer is they didn’t. [ Laughter ] I mean, you know, they thought I was a good
kid and they were glad I liked school but I don’t think they said, “This boy is going
to be a mathematician” or anything like that. So, I wasn’t put into any push in any direction
whatsoever, except to do my homework, and I was not a good homework doer, like I hated
doing my homework. Yes?>>In your professional life when you look
back would you change anything? And I think like going earlier in business or before mathematics?>>OK. So would I change anything as I look
back in my professional life? Well, not really. I don’t think I made any huge mistakes in
my professional life. One doesn’t know what a different path might have led to, but there’s
nothing that glares [inaudible] oh my god, I wish I hadn’t done that. I mean, there are
certainly things in my life that I can say I wish I hadn’t said that or one thing or
another or going out with that particular girl. But in general, no. When I look back
I think it was an OK path. There’s nothing [inaudible]–no big change that I would want
to make. [ Inaudible Remark ] Wait a minute. OK, you next to speak up. [ Inaudible Remark ] OK. OK, that’s a good question. The question
is at Renaissance where the algorithms that they had developed and the ideas are very
proprietary and not, you know, you can’t patent them or copyright them because people would
just take it over and you’d just be lawsuits all the time. The question is if we’re developing
this at a new science, would we have any wish to sort of share what the general public in
some sense or other? And the answer is no. [ Laughter ] No. But that’s not meant as a joke. That the–There
isn’t anything that these guys have done of such generality and power that it would be–that
it’s a shame that the world doesn’t know it. It’s a very powerful group of people who can
focus on data and got some very good results, but there’s nothing but so general that it
would really need to be shared with the world as far as I know. Yes? [ Inaudible Remark ] Yes. Yes. OK. The question is what are my
thoughts on math education in America. And my thoughts are needs to be better as probably
most of you realized. So, kind of the background, I got interested in this because when I went
to Berkeley to be a graduate student, I was the beneficiary of a National Defense Education
Act fellowship. Now, only the–all folks here probably ever heard of the National Defense
Education Act, but when Sputnik went up in 1957, the whole country went in into spasm.
And the Congress said, “Oh my God, you know, the Russians are going to be beat us. They’ll
be on the moon throwing [inaudible] soon. We can’t get our satellites up, they got theirs
up. We need to strengthen the scientific enterprise in United States” and they did. They created
the National Defense Education Act. They beefed up the National Science Foundation. When I
got my–it was like quarrel with John about this but I’m going to give this statistics
anyway. When I got my PhD in 1961, I think there were fewer than 100 people in United
States, surely 100 Americans who got PhDs in mathematics. Ten years later, there were
1400. Now, 100 was too few, 1400 we don’t know what to do with them because, you know,
there weren’t enough academic jobs. But–And in other professions, other area–scientific
areas this was similar. There was a lot of growth. And we saw a national problem, cold
war, and we were going to solve it through building up our science and we did. We did
a marvelous job of building up science. Salaries went up in universities for those kind of
folks and a lot of people came in to science, young people, and it was a great success.
So–Well, 15 years ago, I looked around, more, maybe more than 15 years but–and I realized
that the teaching math, I was only focusing on math, in our schools was really not very
good. And I realized like we all do that the economy is becoming far more quantitative
than it used to be 40 or 50 years ago and more and more things are based on quantitative
methods and we’re not really keeping up. Our teachers by and large don’t know in particular
math I think the subject very well. Because if you know enough math to be a good high
school teacher and that means you know college math and something so that you’re not just
one step ahead of the kids. If you know that much math and you have the least mental agility
which I–you’ll see in a second I don’t have, you know how to program a computer, you can
go to work for Google, you can go to work for Microsoft, you can go to work for Apple.
I have an Apple phone right here in front of me. And so–and, you know, you’re going
to get paid twice as much and so on. So, what’s to keep someone who actually knows the field
in the profession? Well, you might really like teaching and that’s great. But the pullout–so
something needed to be done to make the job of teaching math, and in fact math and science,
more attractive so that we would educate our kids better and be able to compete in the
world. And so, I had–OK. I have a program, I know what to do. A friend of mine or a guy
who became my friend, Senator Schumer had just been elected. And part of the reason
he was elected is because I gave him $250 or whatever it was. Anyway, I was–I was a
supporter of Senator Schumer, I probably was a little more, but I know it wasn’t some future
[inaudible] but I had a party for him, he became a friend. And as soon as he got elected
I went right to Washington, I say, “Here’s an idea, you got to do this.” And I said,
“Create this program. Reward people who–give teachers a test. If they pass the test, you
give them money and they’ll be rewarded and they’ll stay in the schools and people will
be drawn into the field because they’re going to get an extra stipend from the–I mean,
you know, like the National Defense Education Act.” He said, “That’s a great idea. I’ll
get right on it.” And as I left his office, another group went in about, I don’t know,
something about dams on the beaches of Long Island and I heard him say [inaudible], “That’s
a great idea. I’ll get right on it.” [ Laughter ] I’m exaggerating slightly but only slightly.
So, he didn’t get right on it. We had a few conversations but was nothing going to happen
as a federal program. And so, a few years went by and then–actually, MSRI was kind
of in the picture because we had a poker tournament to benefit MSRI. David hooked me up with a
few people in New York who were also in the financial business. I don’t know where you
found those guys. And we sat together, how can we benefit MSRI. And one of the guys was
a poker player and he was talking [inaudible] and then I say, “Hey, you know–and I like
poker, I said, “Why don’t we have a charity poker tournament?” And we did. And it worked
extremely well and MSRI got the benefit. But I thought, well, if we’re going to do this
every year in New York, it’d better be something that really relates more to New Yorkers. I’m
not going to get these guys coming out every year to give money to MSRI which is in California
and for math research. I don’t know how we talked them into it the first time but– [ Laughter ] So then I thought, OK, you know, maybe this
is the time to start this program here in the city and just do it ourselves. And so
we did. And we had the tournament every year and that raised some money and of course I
provided a great deal of it on top of that, so that the program was started privately.
Two years ago, the state of New York took on to do the same program outside the city
as we’re doing in the city and they’re building up, we have 800 teachers of now math and science
in New York City. Next year there’ll be a thousand and that will be 10 percent of the
math and science teachers in New York will be part of this core of really knowledgeable
committed teachers. They all get extra stipends and so on and the state is doing the same
thing, and we’re hoping that other states in the country will take on. The federal government
is in a state of paralysis and it’s probably better to work through states. But, you know,
it’s a long haul. That’s a very long answer. I’m sorry. And maybe I’ll take one more question.
OK. [ Inaudible Remark ] You know–you mean Bourbaki. Yeah. Yeah, Bourbaki.
Do you guys know about Bourbaki? You know about Bourbaki? Well, it was sort of a–the
French of course did this. Any French people in the audience? No. [ Laughter ] You know, they’re one of the codified, you
know, all of–you know, in the United States and England we have common law, the tradition
and the traditions grow up and, you know, you go by various court cases and that becomes
a law or in one thing or another. In France, and it’s not like that at all. Everything
is codified. They’re [inaudible]–you know, Napoleon wrote this code and, you know, the
French like to codify everything. And so, Bourbaki wanted to get right down to it and
codify mathematics somewhere. I think some of it was pretty good. I’m not an expert on
it. What do you think about Bourbaki? [ Inaudible Remark ] Oh, that’s when it went.>>They created it.>>I see. It was actually created at that
time. Well, OK. [ Inaudible Remark ] Will he catch it, will they catch it, or just
be exposed to it? [ Laughter & Applause ] [ Inaudible Remark ] There’s no question and I’m sure the federal
money is not well spent and my Republican friends take not a penny of it as well spent
but I think some of it is. Anyway, I think we have to stop. David is going to throw me
out, so thank you. [ Applause ]