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Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down
(UK: Penguin Books, @PenguinUKBooks, 1991; USA: Da Capo Press, @DaCapoPress, 2003)
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Elon Musk, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist | Company websites: Tesla, Inc.; Neuralink; The Boring Company; OpenAI; SpaceX; PayPal
Elon is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer. He holds South African, Canadian, and US citizenship and is the founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; co-founder and CEO of Neuralink; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder and co-chairman of OpenAI; and co-founder of PayPal. He ranks highly on the Forbes list of ‘The World’s Most Powerful People‘. As of April 2019, he has a net worth of $22.3 billion and is listed by Forbes as the 40th-richest person in the world.
Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon moved to Canada when he was 17 to attend Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received an economics degree from the Wharton School and a degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. He began a PhD in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University in 1995 but dropped out after two days to pursue an entrepreneurial career. He subsequently co-founded Zip2, a web software company, which was acquired by Compaq for USD $340 million in 1999. Elon then founded X.com, an online bank. It merged with Confinity in 2000 and later that year became PayPal, which was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion in October 2002.
In May 2002, Elon founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he is CEO and lead designer. He helped fund Tesla, Inc., an electric vehicle and solar panel manufacturer, in 2003, and became its CEO and product architect. In 2006, he inspired the creation of SolarCity, a solar energy services company that is now a subsidiary of Tesla, and operates as its chairman. In 2015, Elon co-founded OpenAI, a non-profit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence. In July 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neuro-technology company focused on developing brain–computer interfaces. In December 2016, Elon founded The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel-construction company.
In addition to his primary business pursuits, Elon has envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop, and has proposed a vertical take-off and landing supersonic jet electric aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet. Elon has stated that the goals of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the risk of human extinction by establishing a human colony on Mars.
Elon is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic efforts on providing solar-power energy systems in disaster areas. In 2010, the Musk Foundation collaborated with SolarCity to donate a 25-kW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance’s hurricane response centre in Coden, Alabama. In July 2011, the Musk Foundation donated USD $250,000 towards a solar power project in Sōma, Japan, a city that had been recently devastated by a tsunami.
In July 2014, Elon was asked by cartoonist Matthew Inman and William Terbo, the grandnephew of Nikola Tesla, to donate USD $8 million toward the construction of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Ultimately, Elon agreed to donate USD $1 million toward the project and additionally pledged to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum car park.
Elon donated USD $10 million to the Future of Life Institute in January 2015, to run a global research program aimed at keeping artificial intelligence beneficial to humanity.
As of 2015, Elon is a benefactor to the XPRIZE Foundation, for the Global Learning XPRIZE, and a signatory of The Giving Pledge.
In October 2018, in an effort to help solve the Flint water crisis, Elon and the Musk Foundation donated over USD $480,000 to install new water fountains with filtration systems for access to clean water at all Flint, Michigan schools.