Scene Last Night: Hedge Funders, Math Museum, Salkin Book

At the first gala for the Museum of Mathematics, honoree Jim Simons puffed from an electronic cigarette as guests helped build a hyperbolic paraboloid.

“I always loved mathematics,” Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies LLC, said last night, “I make my living from it.”

The museum opened last year with interactive exhibitions aim to teach that math is fun with wide applications.

“Lots of kids never get exposure to math other than some kind of boring work sheet,” said John Overdeck, co-chairman of Two Sigma Investments and a museum board member. “Our goal is to get them turned on to math at an early age.”

Simons was an early donor, courted by his former algorithms analyst Glen Whitney, who left Renaissance Technologies to found the museum.

As guests sat down at tables named for algebraic surfaces, Whitney hovered over the hyperbolic paraboloid. Some of the LED tubes lighting up the structure needed to be rearranged, he decided.

“I’m a minutia kind of guy,” Whitney said.

His efforts were appreciated.

“This is really creative and thoughtful,” said Benjamin Ngan, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment manager.

The event raised more than $1 million.

Loft Brisket

Mighty Quinn’s pit master, Hugh Mangum, spent last night serving brisket sandwiches in a Flatiron loft kitchen at the party for Allen Salkin’s book “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network.”

Salkin met Mangum on the set of the show “Cook Like an Iron Chef.” Mangum was working as Michael Symon’s sous chef on the show, while Salkin was researching his book.

Mangum later went on the Food Network as a contestant on “Chopped,” where he won with one of the most difficult baskets of ingredients in the show’s history.

“It was nose to tail of a pig, the heart, liver, kidneys. It was hard core,” Mangum said.

He did it on no sleep, too. “I messed up the day of the call, and I had worked the overnight shift on the smoker. All I could think was, ‘I don’t want to go in Round One,’” Mangum said.

Chef Actor

“It’s rare you meet a true chef-actor,” Salkin said. “Usually the Food Network has to turn chefs into actors. Hugh did that on his own.”

As for Mighty Quinn’s being named New York’s best new restaurant by the Zagat survey yesterday:

“People obviously focused on the food -- we don’t have a marble table or anything like that,” said Micha Magid, an owner of the restaurant and former hedge funder.

(Amanda Gordon and Patrick Cole are writers for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are their own.)

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