Today's news has it that Charles Munger made a $65 million donation to KITP at UCSB. See for instance this article on NYT. Of course I didn't learn it from NYT (I'm generally sick of any news other than math, physics, or IT-related ones). I learned it from Not Even Wrong instead (of course I don't agree with Woit, but some of his links are nice).
I have no interest whatsoever in the business world, so I have no idea about Warren Buffett's business partners (although I'm still worldly enough to know Warren Buffett). However, the name Charles Munger sounded surprisingly familiar. After reading the sentence
Mr. Munger has frequently donated big sums to schools like Stanford and the Harvard-Westlake School.
from the NYT article linked above, it finally hit me that Mr. Munger is the donor of the Munger Graduate Residence here at Stanford. Munger is really nice, much better than our undergrad residences AFAIK (location-wise Roble is still unbeatable for mathematicians and physicists, although Munger still kicks EV's ass).
I'm glad to see more and more entrepreneurs funding physics, especially theoretical physics, whether they understand it or not. (Aside: Even for laypeople theoretical physics is cool isn't it, like the coolest kid in class. I won't comment on whether math is cooler, but breakthrough mathematical work certainly go largely unnoticed in the public, since theoretical physics is the last thing that laypeople can "vaguely understand". Do some name searches on Google to see how math and physics play out in the limelight — hint:
- Gauss — 4,130,000 results;
- Euler — 855,000 results;
- Newton — 13,200,000 results;
- Einstein — 6,330,000 results.
End of aside.) Engaging in physics is plain better than engaging in some questionable philanthropy. (Have you heard that Gates Foundation invested in G4S, the largest private military and security company in the world? I’m not sure about the details — I once read that off a bathroom flyer — but that’s definitely interesting philanthropy.)