Elon Musk in black bowtie

Most know Musk as the founder of Tesla, co-founder of PayPal and CEO of SpaceX. And while he has done quite a bit in his lifetime in the field of science, some may question if he is really a scientist by profession?

Where did Elon Musk go to college?

musk degree in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and he enrolled in a graduate program in physics at Stanford University before dropping out early. He was a programmer in the early days of the Internet and made huge sums of money selling his ventures—Zip2, a company that sold early online cards that was bought by Compaq for $307 million, and PayPal, which eBay bought for $2 billion.

By 2002, Musk was on his way to becoming an investor who quickly became interested in electric cars and space travel. And while he was an investor in both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, he was also heavily immersed in design, playing a lead role in the engineering of both products. While he may not have an engineering degree, he led the development of the all-electric Tesla Roadster and the Model S sedan.

How did Elon Musk get started?

Musk is a known workaholic who in 2021 an interview, said most of his work time was spent developing the technology. “Almost all of my time, about 80 percent of it, is spent on engineering and design […] developing a next-generation product,” he told Y Combinator founder Sam Altman.

At SpaceX, he was responsible for overseeing the design of the SpaceX Falcon 1, the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit. Since then, SpaceX has also debuted the Falcon 9, Dragon Spacecraft and Falcon Heavyone of the most powerful operational rockets in the world.

Read more: How do SpaceX’s Starlink satellites actually work?

Through another venture of his, The boring company, he sought to use underground tunnels to solve traffic jams by finding another place for cars and cargo. According to the company, the only way to solve the problem of “soul-crushing” traffic is with flying cars or tunnels, and “unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, invisible, and won’t fall on your head.”

Is Elon Musk a scientist?

While Musk doesn’t do lab research per se and doesn’t author scientific papers, it would be hard to argue that he wasn’t a scientist at all. His background in physics is ultimately his guiding light.

He is known to have said that he works according to “the physical approach to analysis. You reduce things to first principles or fundamental truths in a certain area and then reason from there.”

When he was a child and he was fear of the darkhe used physics to overcome his fears, writing that “dark simply means the absence of photons in the visible wavelength 400 to 700 nanometers […] It’s really silly to fear a lack of photons.”

Read more: The biggest space missions to look for in 2023

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