Elon Musk is one of the greatest and most prolific modern inventors and is responsible for monumental advancements in futuristic technology like renewable energy and space travel. Many of his innovations seem to be right out of a science-fiction movie, but throughout his career he has brought about huge scientific breakthroughs. After making his first fortune from the internet payment service ‘PayPal’, he invested $100 million in his space travel company, ‘SpaceX’ and began building satellites, launch vehicles and other spacecraft both for NASA and for his own company, creating new milestones with his privately funded spacecraft. Many of his revolutionary ideas and inventions focus on space travel, renewable energy, commercial electric cars and other technologies, that look to a future where fossil fuels and other resources may be in shorter supply. His futuristic and visionary ideas have won him both scientific and philanthropic recognition and awards. The pop culture sometimes portrays him as a sort of real life super hero, dedicated to providing worldwide solutions to international problems. Musk looks to the future, hopes for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and continues to plan far-reaching futuristic goals such a human colony on Mars. Scroll down to learn all about this illustrious personality.
- Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. The oldest of three siblings with a prodigious family name, he grew up in the last decades of Apartheid.His parents were Maye Musk, a British-Canadian model and Errol Musk, a South Africa born British electrical engineer. When they divorced in 1980, Elon stayed mainly with his father in South Africa. A few years later, he began teaching himself computer programming and sold his first video game at the age of 12.For his undergraduate education he attended the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1990. He eventually transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, earning dual degree in Physics and Economics.In addition to the bachelor’s degrees, he earned in physics and economics, he also holds an honorary doctorate in Design from the ‘Art Center College of Design’ and an honorary doctorate in Aerospace Engineering from the ‘University of Surrey’.Career
- He moved to California to attend Stanford for a PhD in applied physics in 1995, but quit within a few of days to pursue his own interests in avenues of technology and entrepreneurship. Later that year, he worked with his brother, Kimbal Musk, to develop the software company ‘Zip2’, which provided services to high end newspaper clients like 'The New York Times' and the 'Chicago Tribune'.After the successful sale of Zip2 to Compaq in 1999, Musk went straight into his next venture, an online financial service called ‘X.com’. Shortly after the company acquired a money transfer service called ‘PayPal’, through a merger, they began to focus their efforts exclusively on building this internet payment service. The success of ‘PayPal’ led Musk to sell his stock in the company to ‘eBay’ for $165 million.In 2002, he invested his millions in his third company ‘Space Exploration Technologies’ or just ‘SpaceX’. Within seven years, the company had designed the ‘Falcon’ line of space launch vehicles and the ‘Dragon’ line of multi-purpose spacecraft and was making history with their privately funded innovation. ‘SpaceX’ received contracts from NASA to create a launch craft to deliver cargo to the ‘International Space Station’.Tesla Motors was founded with the mission of designing and building electric cars. Musk invested in the company and became its chairman in 2004, a year after its inception, taking on an active role in the design of the ‘Roadster’, which won the ‘Global Green’ product award. During the recession when the company was adversely affected, he went on to become the CEO and product architect of the company, a role he holds till today.After designing the initial concept for ‘SolarCity’, Musk remains its biggest shareholder. Today, it is the second largest provider of solar energy in the United States, with a focus on combating global warming.On August 12, 2013, Musk announced revolutionary plans for a high speed travel technology that, in theory, could replace airplane travel as a faster and cheaper option. His company ‘SpaceX’ is currently working on putting his plans into practice, with the design intended to run entirely on solar energy.Major Works
- SpaceX has completed several contracts for NASA, sending its Falcon 9 spacecraft to the International Space Station with cargo. This spacecraft replaced the space shuttle when it retired in 2011.Musk was heavily involved in the design of Tesla Motors' first electric sports car, the ‘Tesla Roadster’. Musk received the 2006 ‘Global Green’ product design award for this vehicle, presented by Mikhail Gorbachev.Awards & Achievements
- In 2010, the premier world organization for aerospace records, the ‘Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’ awarded Musk the ‘FAI Gold Space Medal. He shares this highest honor with prominent personalities like Neil Armstrong and John Glenn.He has won multiple awards and recognitions for his many advancements in science, technology and business alike and in 2013 was named 'Fortune' magazine's 'Businessperson of the Year' for his companies ‘SpaceX’, ‘Tesla Motors’ and ‘SolarCity’Personal Life & Legacy
- Musk had six sons with his first wife, Canadian author, Justine Wilson, but their first child died of SIDS. He married his second wife British actress Talulah Riley twice, with their second divorce ending their relationship in December 2014.Net Worth
- As of February 2015, 'Forbes' estimates Musk's net worth to be approximately $8.3 billion. He currently has controlling shares in ‘SpaceX’, ‘Tesla Motors’ and ‘SolarCity’.Trivia
- In 2004, the famous inventor attended the ‘Burning Man’ arts festival in Nevada. According to him, it was at this notoriously radical art and music festival that he came up with the idea of ‘SolarCity’.
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