Elon Musk: The Controversial Billionaire

Conventional wisdom says that to be a world-class scientist, you should focus only on one area or if you are someone who loves to learn in different areas, you should only learn in a superficial way without going deep.

But Elon Musk broke that rule. His expertise ranges from rocket science, engineering, physics, and artificial intelligence to solar energy and energy. Usually, learning across multiple domains provides an informative (and thus innovative) advantage because most people focus on just one field

Time magazine named Elon Musk "Man of the Year" as the head of electric car maker Tesla cemented his position as the world's richest man, bringing the company to a trillion dollars.

In an article explaining why it chose the innovative and controversial CEO, Time said: "Few people have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth and perhaps far away too. He sees it as his task to solve the most difficult limitations in the universe, which impede many of the industries."

This recognition adds a new title to Musk's growing titles, which was mostly reserved for world leaders such as Barack Obama and at times economic magnates such as Mark Zuckerberg. Also, he surpassed Jeff Bezos last January to become the richest man in the world, and added $100 billion to his fortune this year alone.

Last October, Tesla became one of the few companies to have a market capitalization of over $1 trillion. His other company, SpaceX, has also become a company sufficiently reliable to provide rocket launch services to clients such as the US space agency (NASA).

Musk has lived a different life, but he is not the only member of his family who has launched businesses, made millions, or achieved fame. Musk’s family is filled with entrepreneurs and rebels, from his director sister Tosca to his ex-wife, Talulah Riley. Now the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has a new family member: a baby born in May with his girlfriend, singer Grimes.

Elon is an engineer and inventor. He founded Zip2 in his twenties and sold it to Compaq Computers, and achieved more success by founding X.com, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors.

Musk made headlines in 2012 when SpaceX launched a space rocket that sent the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station. In 2016, he filled his gallery with images of SolarCity, cementing his presence on the throne of industrial leaders after playing the role of advisor in the first days of the US president's administration.

Musk embarked on a new adventure by creating Tesla Motors, a company dedicated to producing electric cars on a global scale. In 2008, the company unveiled a sports car called the Roadster, capable of accelerating from zero to 96 kilometers per hour in 3.7 seconds, and it was also equipped with a lithium-ion battery with enough capacity to cover 400 kilometers after each charge. This company has been supported by the German company Daimler and Toyota.

After that, the company achieved another success by launching the Model S as the first family electric car capable of covering 426 kilometers per charge, and it also won the 2013 Car of the Year award by Motor Trend magazine.

The company's successes overtook General Motors in 2017 to become the car company with the highest market value in the United States.

Musk and his company SpaceX made history when the company launched the Falcon 9 rocket into space, an unmanned spacecraft that transported half a ton of supplies to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, becoming the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Musk commented on this event saying: "I feel very lucky, we feel like we won a huge prize."

In 2013, SpaceX achieved a huge achievement when it used a Falcon 9 rocket to put a geosynchronous satellite into orbit. In February 2015, the company launched the last Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the DSCOVR satellite.

But Musk did not rest on his laurels. In 2017, SpaceX opened the door to a new kind of space flight when it achieved a successful launch and landing of a Falcon 9 rocket made from old reusable parts.

Several scenes from the movie Iron Man2 were filmed by SpaceX, as Elon was the inspiration for this character. Elon is a workaholic, putting in about 100 hours a week at both Tesla and SpaceX.

Musk was criticized for his public comments and conduct related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He spread "misinformation about the virus," including promoting chloroquine and claiming that death statistics were manipulated. At the start of the pandemic, he claimed that children "are essentially immune" to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. 

Musk repeatedly criticized lockdowns and violated local orders by re-opening the Tesla Fremont factory. In March 2020, commenting on a New York Times report that China had reported no new cases of a domestic spread of the novel coronavirus, Musk predicted that there would be "probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April."

Also in March 2020, Musk offered to donate ventilators that Tesla would build or buy from a third party. Multiple hospitals noted that the devices eventually donated were BiPAP and CPAP machines, not the sought-after ventilators. However, the machines could still be used to free up ventilators for the sickest patients. 

SpaceX worked with doctors and academic researchers to create an antibody-testing program.  In 2021, the findings were published in Nature Communications with Musk listed as a co-author.

One of his goals is to get humanity to Mars and establish a colony on the Red Planet.


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