Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) donated $65 million to Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Munger is well-known as a successful investor, lawyer, and a long-time business partner of Warren Buffett. The investment community describes him as a candid commentator with a huge following.
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Munger’s gift is the largest in the history of the university
Munger’s $65 million gift is the largest in the history of the university. The fund will be used for the construction of a 61-bed residence for visiting physicists who would exchange ideas for weeks.
In a telephone interview with the NY Times DealBook, Munger said, “U.C.S.B. has by far the most important program for visiting physicists in the world. Leading physicists routinely are coming to the school to talk to one another, create new stuff, and cross-fertilize ideas.”
Munger’s grandson is an alumnus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. His friend, Glen Mitchel introduced Kavli Institute and asked his support for the construction of a new residence for visiting physicists. The UCSB already reserve a portion of land for the dormitory in case Kavli Institute raised the needed funds for construction.
Munger understood the importance of physics
The vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) said he was easily convinced because he understood the importance of physics.
“It wasn’t a hard sell. Physics is vitally important. Everyone knows that,” said Munger. He studied physics for a long time but he took classes at the California Institute of Technology when he was in Army during the World War II. He recognized the value of physics as an avid reader of scientific biography.
For more than 35 years, the Kavli Institute established itself as a haven for theoretical physicists from around the world to meet and discuss new developments in their field. Munger believed that the interactions of physicists are crucial for the advancement of the field.
The National Science Foundation provides funding for Kavli Institute, which already made advances in the understanding of white dwarf stars, string theory and quantum computing.
David J. Gross, the former director of the institute received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics along with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for the “discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.”