Elon Musk is one of the most well-known individuals in the world. On top of his business endeavors establishing ubiquitous brands like Tesla and SpaceX, he has also become an innovative cultural icon. Musk has a large following of supporters, and his celeb status has even led to opportunities like a cameo in Marvel’s “Iron Man 2” and hosting “Saturday Night Live.”
But, there’s more to Elon Musk than being the richest man in the world and causing drama with bizarre tweets. Read on for an in-depth look at Elon Musk and his many accomplishments.
Who is Elon Musk?
Simply put, Elon Musk is an entrepreneur whose accomplishments have brought him billionaire status (even surpassing Jeff Bezos to become the wealthiest man in the world). He has founded many companies but is most widely known for being the founder and CEO of SpaceX, and the CEO of Tesla.
On June 28, 1971, Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. While his early schooling years took place in South Africa, Musk left in 1988 to study in Canada. There, he began his secondary education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario before eventually transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. Musk went on to graduate with bachelor’s degrees in physics and economics.
After his undergraduate education, Musk enrolled at Stanford University to pursue a doctorate in physics. This move would be short-lived, though, as he dropped out of the program after only two days to pursue other opportunities in the Internet boom.
Musk launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation, with his brother during the Internet boom of the mid-90s. After selling Zip2 to Compaq, Musk became a millionaire. He then went on to form X.com, which eventually became PayPal.
As for his family life, Musk has been rather busy. He met his first wife, author Justine Wilson, while they were both studying at Queens University. The couple was married for nine years and have six children together, one of which tragically died of sudden infant death syndrome in 2002. They currently share custody of their five children – one set of twins and one set of triplets.
Musk went on to have other high-profile relationships with actresses Talulah Riley and Amber Heard and musician Grimes, with whom he has two children. Musk’s children with Grimes have frequently made headlines for their unusual names – son X Æ A-12 Musk and daughter Exa Dark Sideræl Musk.
What is Elon Musk famous for?
Elon Musk is famous for his entrepreneurial endeavors across many different industries that leverage scientific advancements in fields like space, finance, electric vehicles and sustainable energy. Some examples of these are his ties with PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity, among others.
Some of Elon Musk’s accomplishments include his success with making electric vehicles mainstream through Tesla, and making the technology more accessible to the public. This success with Tesla also allowed him to amass a net worth that made him the world’s wealthiest person.
SpaceX is another defining achievement for Musk, as this company made the technology for reusable rockets more reliable and less expensive. This helped strengthen the space program and made extended space exploration more feasible.
A timeline of Elon Musk’s accomplishments
One of Musk’s earliest entrepreneurial pursuits was founding Zip2 with his brother, Kimbal Musk, in 1995. The company provided maps and business directories to online newspapers. When this company was later bought in 1999 for US$307 million, Musk would go on to found X.com, a financial services company that would later become PayPal. eBay would purchase PayPal for US$1.5 Billion in 2002.
SpaceX began as Space Exploration Technologies in 2002. SpaceX was born from Musk’s belief that humanity needs to become a multiplanet species and that the existing rocket technology for space travel was underwhelming. The goal of SpaceX is to develop more affordable rockets for space exploration.
SpaceX’s approach was to make rockets reusable, as previous rockets were for one-time use and made maintaining the space program very costly. On top of founding SpaceX, Musk also acted as chief designer in building many of their most notable rockets.
Shortly after the founding of SpaceX, Musk became a major funder of Tesla Motors in 2004. The company was originally founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and would introduce its first car in 2008. Today, Tesla is credited for making electric vehicles and the technology behind them more accessible and is one of the most valued carmakers in the world.
While Musk served on the board of SolarCity before it was acquired by Tesla, the official acquisition would not occur until 2016. SolarCity was highly touted as a manufacturer and provider of residential and commercial solar energy. One reason it got so much attention was that it was co-founded in 2006 by Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, Elon Musk’s cousins. Musk sought to acquire SolarCity to improve their efforts to become “the world’s only vertically integrated sustainable energy company.”
Elon Musk would reveal one of his next scientific pursuits (founded in 2016) in a livestreamed 2020 presentation explaining Neuralink’s brain chips, which would connect the human brain to AI technology. Some of the goals of Neuralink include solving issues like memory loss, hearing loss and insomnia. There are even talks of enabling people with paralysis to directly operate computers and mobile devices with their minds using the technology.
The Boring Company
The Boring Company was founded in 2016, an idea that started as a joke, according to Musk. But Musk eventually saw a need to develop better tunneling technology to improve underground tunnel systems for faster transport opportunities.
Elon Musk’s greatest accomplishments
Elon Musk is renowned for huge advancements in the field of aerospace, especially with his efforts with SpaceX. He is most often recognized for his contributions to the project as a chief engineer for many of their rockets, including the Falcon, Dragon and Grasshopper models.
Among his most significant accomplishments with SpaceX, is the incredible success of the Falcon 1 line of rockets. This was the first line of rockets developed by SpaceX. The Falcon 1 would make five launches. The first three failed, but the fourth launch made Falcon 1 the first privately funded and developed liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit.
Elon Musk’s recognition in engineering is due to the success of Tesla, some strides with neurotechnology and pursuits with Hyperloop. Tesla has made huge advancements in making electric vehicle technology more accessible for consumers and ushering in a future where electric vehicles are the standard.
Musk has pursued increased research in the field of neurotechnology with Neuralink. As of now, many experts can appreciate the wireless technology aspect of their advancements but are still waiting to see more significant progress.
In 2013, Musk revealed plans for Hyperloop, a version of a vacuum tube train or “vactrain.” Hyperloop technology is focused on revolutionizing public travel and transportation through cities and beyond. Dense cities could potentially relieve the harsh realities of urban traffic and move people around swiftly and efficiently using this technology.
Why is Elon Musk important?
Elon Musk’s achievements have represented huge advancements in access to electric vehicle technology, sustainable energy production, more feasible space travel and efficient transportation.
Elon Musk has also won numerous awards for his work on climate change with Tesla, engineering achievements and especially his influence on the world and technology. Time and Forbes have often placed him on their most-influential people’s lists and in 2021 Time magazine named Musk its Person of the Year.
Most recently, Elon Musk was reported to have donated 5 million shares of Tesla stock to charity. This was said to be worth about US$5.7 Billion. However, the beneficiaries have not been revealed, and some speculate if these funds have really been distributed. Besides this most recent revelation, Musk has previously revealed his donations of US$50 Million to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and around US$30 Million to many public schools and nonprofits in south Texas.
Elon Musk has achieved several awards for his dedication to climate change and sustainable energy, through his Tesla and SolarCity companies, as well as his general activism. These come from the National Wildlife Federation and Global Green.
Elon Musk’s criticisms and controversies
As much as Elon Musk’s accomplishments have been noteworthy, he has also courted a fair bit of controversy. In the realm of politics, Musk sparked controversy due to his continued lobbying efforts even with claims that he prefers to “stay out of politics.”
He later sparked controversy due to his remarks on COVID-19. He consistently downplayed the seriousness of the virus as well as drummed up confusion about vaccines.
Musk has frequently discussed his fears around artificial intelligence. “I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence,” Musk told CNBC’s Closing Bell in 2014. “There have been movies about this, you know, like ‘[The] Terminator.’ There are some scary outcomes.”
Elon Musk is also a bit of a wild card in the realm of cryptocurrency, even contributing to a phenomenon called The Musk Effect. An offhand remark on cryptocurrency could send it skyrocketing or plummeting, and many crypto enthusiasts emphatically seek a co-sign from Musk.
What’s next for Elon Musk?
Tesla purports to soon have a robot in production, but the big upcoming news involving Musk probably involves space travel, specifically plans for missions to Mars in the very near future. Currently, Musk plans to send potential Mars rocket technology into orbit in 2022.
Elon Musk is a person who has seen a vast amount of praise with a fair amount of criticism. While Elon Musk’s accomplishments have undoubtedly benefited the world, there are still many instances where his influence was less than beneficial, depending on who you ask.
Musk continues to enjoy his status as the most wealthy and renowned man in the world. Whether that status improves with admirable actions or whether controversies continue to follow him, there will surely be a lot more news from Elon Musk in the years to come.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters at email@example.com