Musk, Elon

Musk, Elon ēˈlŏn [key], 1971–, American business executive and entrepreneur, b. Pretoria, South Africa, studied Queen's Univ., Ontario (1989–92), grad. Univ. of Pennsylvania (B.S., B.A., 1995). He and his brother founded Zip2 (1995), which developed online city maps for newspapers. After it was sold in 1999, he founded, an online financial services firm, which acquired the electronic money-transfer service PayPal (2000) and was itself acquired by eBay (2002). He then founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which has developed and manufactured rockets (including a reusable one) and spacecraft to transport cargo and crews to the International Space Station and place satellites in orbit. Musk also became (2004) an investor in Tesla, an electric car and solar panel company, becoming CEO in 2008, and has delved into high-speed transportation (Hyperloop, 2013), artificial intelligence (Open AI, 2015), neurotechnology (Neurolink, 2016), and tunnel boring (The Boring Company, 2016). Musk's false suggestions in tweets in 2018 that he had secured funding to take Tesla private led to his settling with the SEC, agreeing to pay a $20 million fine and stepping down from chairman of the firm for three years (although keeping his title as CEO). In 2002, he founded the Musk Foundation which has made over 350 contributions to scientific research and educational nonprofits. Musk has also embraced several controversial positions, including questioning the lethality of COVID-19 and promoting questionable therapies including the use of choloroquine to treat it. The value of his Tesla stock has made him one of the wealthiest persons in the world.

See A. Vance, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2015).

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