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Ex-Math Professor Is America's Highest Earner

Date: Monday, November 9, 2009
Author: The Chosun Ilbo

Who was the best paid person in the U.S. last year? Not Bill Gates or Steve Jobs but the lesser known James Simons, CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. According to research firm Alpha Survey, Simons earned some US$2.5 billion last year.

But Simons did not study economics or business at college. He is a mathematics professor-turned hedge fund manager and has been posting miraculous profits since quitting a teaching job at Harvard University. Simons last year earned tens of times more than Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein, who made US$54.8 million. Simons made investments with math-based predictions for developments in the financial mechanism.

Mathematician has become one of the most popular jobs in the U.S. According to a survey by U.S. online job portal CareerCast, mathematician is on a list of 200 best jobs in the U.S., and they earn more than $94,000 a year.

People with majors in mathematics have racked up some remarkable achievements in the Korean financial industry, and their arena is expanding to management and the financial and insurance industries. Mathematicians develop financial and insurance products, and calculate the timing to invest in the stock market.

Kim Myung-hwan, a math professor at Seoul National University, says, "Mathematicians are not highly recognized in Korea, where modern mathematics was introduced only 50 years ago. But the status of mathematicians will improve if more people continue to take an interest in the field."