Elon Musk - Wikipedia
Born in Pretoria , Musk taught himself computer programming at the age of He 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 but dropped out after two days to pursue an entrepreneurial career. Musk then founded X. He co-founded Tesla, Inc. In he inspired the creation of SolarCity , a solar energy services company that is now a subsidiary of Tesla, and operates as its chairman. In Musk co-founded OpenAI , a nonprofit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence. He co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain—computer interfaces , in July and is its CEO.
In addition to his primary business pursuits, Musk 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. He has a younger brother, Kimbal born , and a younger sister, Tosca born During his childhood he was an avid reader. Musk was severely bullied throughout his childhood,  and was once hospitalized when a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs and then beat him until he lost consciousness.
At the age of 17, Musk was accepted into Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario , for undergraduate study. In , after spending two years at Queen's University, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania , where in May he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from its College of Arts and Sciences , and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from its Wharton School of Business.
Musk extended his studies for one year to finish the second bachelor's degree. In , at age 24, Musk moved to California to begin a PhD in applied physics and materials science at Stanford University , but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of the internet, renewable energy and outer space. In , Musk and his brother, Kimbal , started Zip2 , a web software company, with money raised from a small group of angel investors.
In March , Musk co-founded X. The merged company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in PayPal's early growth was driven mainly by a viral marketing campaign where new customers were recruited when they received money through the service. In July , Musk purchased the domain x. In , Musk conceptualized "Mars Oasis"; a project to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars, containing food crops growing on Martian regolith , in an attempt to regain public interest in space exploration.
The group met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras ; however, according to Cantrell, Musk was seen as a novice and was consequently spat on by one of the Russian chief designers,  and the group returned to the United States empty-handed. On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realized that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed.
It was concluded that theoretically, by applying vertical integration and the modular approach from software engineering, SpaceX could cut launch price by a factor of ten and still enjoy a percent gross margin. SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology.
The company's first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets a nod to Star Wars' Millennium Falcon , and its first spacecraft is the Dragon a nod to Puff the Magic Dragon. In September , SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit.
This was the first time in history such a feat had been achieved by an orbital rocket and is a significant step towards rocket reusability lowering the costs of access to space. On February 6, , SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy , the fourth-highest capacity rocket ever built after Saturn V , Energia and N1 and the most powerful rocket in operation as of The inaugural mission carried a Tesla Roadster belonging to Musk as a dummy payload. SpaceX is both the largest private producer of rocket engines in the world, and holder of the record for highest thrust-to-weight ratio for a rocket engine the Merlin 1D.
Each Merlin 1D engine can vertically lift the weight of 40 average family cars. In combination, the 9 Merlin engines in the Falcon 9 first stage produce anywhere from 5. Musk was influenced by Isaac Asimov 's Foundation series  and views space exploration as an important step in preserving and expanding the consciousness of human life. An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves.
Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct. Musk's goal is to reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of In late , SpaceX unveiled the design for its next-generation launch vehicle and spacecraft system— BFR —that would support all SpaceX launch service provider capabilities with a single set of very large vehicles: Earth-orbit, Lunar-orbit , interplanetary missions, and even intercontinental passenger transport on Earth, and totally replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon vehicles in the s.
Significant development on the vehicles began in , while the new rocket engine development began in Both men played active roles in the company's early development prior to Elon Musk's involvement. Following the financial crisis in ,  Musk assumed leadership of the company as CEO and product architect, positions he still holds today.
Tesla Motors first built an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster in , with sales of about 2, vehicles to 31 countries. Musk was able to bring in both companies as long-term investors in Tesla.
In a May interview with All Things Digital , Musk said that to overcome the range limitations of electric cars, Tesla is "dramatically accelerating" its network of supercharger stations, tripling the number on the East and West coasts of the U. As of , Musk's annual salary is one dollar , similar to that of Steve Jobs and other CEOs; the remainder of his compensation is in the form of stock and performance-based bonuses. In , Musk announced that Tesla would allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith in a bid to entice automobile manufacturers to speed up development of electric cars.
In February , Musk announced that he had acquired the Tesla. Majority shareholder approval is pending. The money was used to build a factory and infrastructure for solar panel maker SolarCity , which Tesla acquired. As of March , the plant employed "just a few hundred workers and its future remains uncertain. Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity , which was then co-founded in by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive.
The underlying motivation for funding both SolarCity and Tesla was to help combat global warming. On June 17, , Musk committed to building a SolarCity advanced production facility in Buffalo, New York, that would triple the size of the largest solar plant in the United States. Musk stated the plant will be "one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world", and it will be followed by one or more even bigger facilities in subsequent years.
On August 12, , Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.
After earlier envisioning Hyperloop, Musk assigned a dozen engineers from Tesla and SpaceX who worked for nine months, establishing the conceptual foundations and creating the designs for the transportation system. The alpha design was proposed to use a partial vacuum to reduce aerodynamic drag , which it is theorized would allow for high-speed travel with relatively low power, with certain other features like air-bearing skis and an inlet compressor to reduce freestream flow.
In June , Musk announced a design competition for students and others to build Hyperloop pods to operate on a SpaceX-sponsored mile-long track in a — Hyperloop pod competition. The track was used in January , and Musk also started building a tunnel. Hyperloop One , a company unaffiliated with Musk, had announced that it had done its first successful test run on its DevLoop track in Nevada on July 13, It was on May 12, at C , stopping in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
OpenAI aims to develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity. By making AI available to everyone, OpenAI wants to "counteract large corporations who may gain too much power by owning super-intelligence systems devoted to profits, as well as governments which may use AI to gain power and even oppress their citizenry". In , Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology startup company, to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence.
The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing devices. Neuralink allows our brains to keep up in the intelligence race. The machines can't outsmart us if we have everything the machines have plus everything we have.
At least, that is if you assume that what we have is actually an advantage. On December 17, , while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted "Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging Plan to start digging in a month or so.
As of January 26, , discussions with regulatory bodies have begun,  but no requests for permits to dig in the Los Angeles area had been filed with the California Department of Transportation by late January In February , the company began digging a foot-wide, foot-long, and foot-deep "test trench" on the premises of Space X's offices in Los Angeles, since the construction requires no permits.
In , Elon Musk announced a new comedic media venture, Thud , on his Twitter page. In , Musk expressed interest in buying The Onion prior to Univision 's acquisition of the publication. Politically, Musk has described himself as "half Democrat , half Republican ". In his own words: Musk has described himself as "nauseatingly pro-American". According to Musk, the United States is "[inarguably] the greatest country that has ever existed on Earth", describing it as "the greatest force for good of any country that's ever been.
There have been many foolish things the United States has done and bad things the United States has done. Prompted by the emergence of self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, Musk has voiced support for a universal basic income. He doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States. Regarding his cooperation with Trump, Musk has subsequently commented: In an interview with The Washington Post , Musk stated he was a "significant though not top-tier donor to Democrats ", but that he also gives heavily to Republicans.
Musk further stated, "in order to have your voice be heard in Washington , you have to make some little contribution. Marco Rubio , who represents Florida, a state critical to the space industry. Musk had been a supporter of the U. However, in May , Musk publicly withdrew his support in protest of advertisements the PAC was running that supported causes like the Keystone Pipeline.
Musk and other members, including David O. Sacks , pulled out, criticizing the strategy as "cynical". If we give in to that, we'll get the political system we deserve. Marco Rubio, who has been accused of holding similar positions regarding climate change.
Musk has stated that he does not believe the U. Musk argues that the free market would achieve the "best solution", and that producing environmentally unfriendly vehicles should come with its own consequences.