A conference to describe the published scientific
work of Jim Simons on the occasion of his 75th birthday

May 28-31, 2013
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)

There will be four mini-courses pertaining to the main aspects of Jim Simons' published research. The minicourses courses were numbered according to the chronology of Jim Simons' career.

      1. Riemannian Holonomy
        organized by Robert Bryant
        Minicourse I concerns Simons' unexpected thesis proving in an intrinsic manner something Marcel Berger had revealed by listing possibilities. This list naturally connects with past and current work on special geometry which will be discussed by Robert Bryant and Mark Haskins in two pairs of lectures.
      2. Minimal Varieties
        organized by Blaine Lawson
        Minicourse II concerns Simons' work on minimal varieties that was recognized by the 1975 Veblen Prize in Geometry. It set up the heralded work by deGiorgi, Giusti and Bombieri 1969. Lawson will begin the tale on Tuesday and Brian White will continue the minimal variety story in the course. Aaron Naber will give the last lecture of the course on recent work. Misha Gromov and Harold Rosenberg have recounted that the central construction in Simons' minimal varieties work is one of the most interesting calculations/equations of the theory.
      3. Differential Cohomology
        organized by Jeff Cheeger
        Minicourse III concerns the differential characters of Cheeger and Simons. This notion encapsulated the Chern Simons Integral's first appearance in Mathematics. The analogues of the various aspects for bundles with connections [Structured bundles, differential K theory, differential K-characters,...] have been revisited in Simons' work in the past few years. The differential character theory is equivalent to a smooth analogue of a holomorphic/algebraic construction of Deligne. Pierre will likely report on that in the first lecture of Minicourse III on Tuesday. Lawson will describe recent analytic constructions. Mike Hopkins, in two lectures sandwiching Lawson's,will recall the most general construction relating differential forms and generalized cohomology. This construction arose in his work with Is Singer on a problem in quantum field theory.
      4. The Chern-Simons Integral in Physics and Knot theory
        organized by Dennis Sullivan
        Minicourse IV is about the Chern Simons Integral in Mathematics and Physics. After the first work with Chern and then Cheeger the Integral resurfaced in Mathematics in the 80s with Edward Witten's famous interpretation of Vaughn Jones' polynomials and again recently in his current Physics' interpretation of Khovanov homology. In Physics proper the Chern Simons Integral has had a constant influence on Physics' models up to the present. Some of this will be revisited in the four lectures of that course by Witten, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Dijkgraaf and Singer.
For logistics reasons the various minicourses are respectively scheduled at their own hour which is unchanged each day. But "nota bene" they are in exactly the reverse order to the order above with IV leading off, then III before lunch, then II after lunch and finally I at the end of day."

The Minicourses I, II, III, IV will be keynoted by the following PLENARY LECTURES in the Elebash Hall (first floor of The Graduate Center) Tuesday, May 28th:

I. Robert Bryant

II. Blaine Lawson
III. Pierre Deligne

IV. Ed Witten

The Minicourses I, II, III, IV will continue on the 4th floor Science Center (Room 4102) of The Graduate Center Wednesday, May 29th thru Friday, May 31th.  Additional confirmed speakers in these Minicourses include:

I. Mark Haskins

II. Brian White and Aaron Naber
III. Mike Hopkins

IV. Robbert Dijkgraaf and Isadore Singer

Lecture abstracts can be found here.

All lectures will be streamed live from here
You must select the "Live Videos" tab while a lecture is in progress. Recordings of all talks will be available from this location, if you miss a lecture.

Limited support for local expenses will be available for some participants. In additon there will be a breakfast gathering each morning and vouchers for lunch in the glass-roofed refractory on the 8th floor.


See this page for the conference schedule

Banquet and Dinner

The banquet is planned for Thursday evening at the venerable and beautiful Century Club, a private association whose membership is related to the Arts. It is next door to the Princeton Club at 7 West 43rd street.

The contribution of banquet attendees will be forty dollars for non students and fifteen dollars for students. Reasonable attire is recommended and the affair includes a wine reception before dinner.

Please indicate your intention to attend the special banquet Thursday to Karen at the email address in CONTACT below.


A conference poster is now available for download here.
Feel free to print and distribute it as desired.


The first day's keynote lectures can accommodate up to 180

The individual followup Minicourses can accommodate up to 60 directly plus backup teleparticipation.

There will also be facilities for informal breakout discussions adjacent to the Minicourses.

Those interested should register on the website and indicate which of the six portions they plan to attend. That is, Tuesday lectures, Minicourse I, Minicourse II, Minicourse III, Minicourse IV, Breakout Sessions.

If you are interested in attending the conference, please register .

Here is the list of registered participants as of .


Hotel arrangements for the speakers will be made by the conference staff.

All other participants should make their own hotel arrangements and bookings.
See this page for information about hotels.


To contact us, please send an email to kmarinez AT gc.cuny.edu

Organizing Committee: Robert Bryant, Blaine Lawson, Jeff Cheeger and Dennis Sullivan


This conference is made possible by support from

and its Einstein Chair Program



Photo courtesy of David Eisenbud
Background image designed by Tony Phillips