Lecturer, doctor, scholar, academic or, in layman’s terms, professor; the Oxford English Dictionary officially defines a professor as a teacher of the highest rank in a college or university. At one point in a student’s life, he or she will encounter many of these professionals, and will often pile them into the same category as teachers, trying to give them an education and lumbering them with homework. What differentiates a professor different from a high school teacher? A university professor has, typically, dedicated their life to not just the research but the advancement of their chosen field. While a high school teacher is qualified to teach their subject, professors eat, breath and sleep their subject of interest and earn a living through actively, continuously contributing to their field.
Professors are the authors, making advancements in research and – if they go as far as Stephen Hawking – they may create groundbreaking theories about which students will learn for generations to come. With the world of academia resting in their hands, a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and their working day dedicated to making revolutionary discoveries in their field of research, it’s no surprise that some professors make serious money for their contributions to academia. Here, we’re having a look at the 5 wealthiest professors in the world: a teacher’s salary may be notoriously low, but these educators have earned their reputations and their wealth by significantly advancing human understanding on a universal scale.
5. Stephen Hawking- $20 million
Legend Stephen Hawking was born January 8th 1942 to Oxford graduates, Frank and Isobel Hawking. Throughout his early school career, Hawking was known as “Einstein” though, ironically, he wasn’t – at first – very successful academically. He continued to improve in the science sector, though, and was inspired by well-known mathematician Dikran Tahta. Hawking decided to study mathematics, despite his father’s warnings that he would have limited job opportunities with that kind of degree. Hawking won a scholarship in 1959 and went to Oxford to study chemistry and physics a year early. He graduated with a first-class Honors degree and continued his graduate work at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
At the age of 21, Hawkins was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. The degenerative has left him almost completely paralyzed, only able to speak through a voice generating device. Happily, though, he was married while completing his Ph.D and received a doctorate in March 1966. In 1979, aged 37, Hawking became Lucasion Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He would keep that position for the next 30 years, until his retirement in 2009.
Stephen Hawking has been responsible for game-changing advancements in the area of science. Collaborating with fellow scientist, Roger Penrose, he has made theories on gravitational singularity theorems, predictions that black holes emit radiation (affectionately called Hawking radiation), as well as being an outspoken supporter of quantum mechanics. The many awards under his belt include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the US, as well as being an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has also garnered mass success through his science books. His book A Brief History of Time broke the record for longest time on the British Sunday Times best sellers list with a whopping 237 weeks (or almost 5 years to be more precise). Although he is retired, mainly due to this book, his net worth is about $20 million.
4. Robert S. Langer- $10 million
Robert S. Langer came into the world on August 29th 1948, in Albany New York. After completing his secondary education at The Milne School, Langer received his BA in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his Doctorate of Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His postdoctoral work was at the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, assisting cancer researcher Judah Folkman in his work.
Langer is the David H.Koch Institute Professor at MIT, as well as a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He’s earned a stellar reputation through his contributions to medicine and biotechnology, and he’s a an innovator of various new technologies such as controlled release systems and transdermal delivery systems, which involve administering drugs to the skin or extraction of chemical substances without the use of needles. To top it all off, his lab researchers and he have made many progressions in tissue engineering, including engineered blood vessels and muscular tissue. Langer holds a large number of grants and pending patents, and is the author of over 1200 scientific papers, as well as being the founder of multiple science and technology companies including Acusphere, Living Proof and Seventh Sense.
Langer has received awards like the US National Medal of Science, the Lemelson-MIT Prize and the 2013 Priestley Medal. At the age of 43, he’s the youngest person in history to be selected to attend all three American science academies: National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IM). He also holds honorary degrees from schools like the University of Liverpool, Albany Medical College and the UCSF Medical Center.
3. Adi Shamir – $1 billion +
Israeli cryptographer, Adi Shamir, was born in Tel Aviv in 1952. Receiving a BSc in mathematics from Tel Aviv University, he went on to receive a PhD in Computer Science from the Weizmann University. After spending a year at the University of Warwick, he undertook research at MIT for three years. Shamir finally returned to the Weizmann Institute to become a professor of Mathematics and Computer Science. Beginning in 2006, he would become a guest professor at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris.
Shamir has been responsible for significant advances in the field of cryptology. Some of these include the Shamir secret sharing scheme, visual cryptography and the theoretical TWIRL and TWINKLE factoring devices. He also invented the RSA algorithm in computer science.
Shamir advancements in computer science and cryptology have been recognized with several awards, including the Erdős Prize of the Israel Mathematical Society, the Vatican’s PIUS XI Gold Medal and the UAP Scientific Prize.
2. David Cheriton- $1.7 billion
The Canadian entry on the list, Vancouver native David Cheriton attended high school in Alberta. He attended the University of Alberta for a brief period studying mathematics, after being rejected from the school’s music program. He received his degree in mathematics at the University of British Colombia (UBC). His Masters and PhD were received at the University of Waterloo. After he finished school, Cheriton became an Assistant Professor for 3 years at UBC and he eventually became a Computer Science professor at Stanford.
A decade after he moved to Stanford, Ontario, Cheriton co-founded Granite Systems, a gigabit ethernet production company. The company went on to be bought by Cisco Systems in 1996. Two years later, he met Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page and wrote the first $100 000 cheque to fund what would soon becomes the billion dollar company, Google. He has also gone on to co-found companies like Arastra (Ethernet switches production company) and Kealia.
Cheriton’s Google investment is worth over $1 billion, making him the 20th wealthiest Canadian and the 882ns person in the world. Despite this, he has been known to live a very modest lifestyle. Taking advantage of his extensive wealth, he has made many donations, including $25 million to the Computer Science Program at the University of Waterloo as well as $2 million to UBC to fund the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI).
1. Henry Samueli-$1.7billion +
Professor and….hockey team owner? Sounds like a strange combination. It’s a profitable one, for Henry Samueli. Born to Polish Jewish immigrants, Samueli started from the bottom: To help out his family, he stocked the shelves of his parent’s liquor store. He first became interested in electronics after taking a class in junior high school. Samueli received his BA, MA and PhD at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in electrical engineering and he became a professor at UCLA shortly after. While he still held this post, he and his former student, Henry Nicholas, founded the Broadcom Corporation. When the company took off, Samueli retired from his professorship but the UCLA Department of Electrical Engineering still retains his name on their faculty list.
In 2005 Samueli and his wife bought the Anaheim Ducks (originally the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) from the Walt Disney Company for $75 million. Under his ownership, the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 but in 2008, Samueli was suspended after he confessed to lying to US security regulators. A year later, though, the case was dismissed and Samueli was exonerated and reinstated as the owner. The Anaheim Ducks are presently worth around $188 million.
Samueli has also founded two institutions in the health sector: the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, and the Samueli Institute of Information Biology, in Washington, D.C. Both aspire to provide research in well-known and lesser-known disciplines in the medical field. His work in education includes running the department of engineering at UCLA, as well as giving grants to such schools as the Orange County Highschool of the Arts (OCHSA), the Ocean Institute, and Chapman University.
Some of his awards include the 2010 UCLA Medal, the 2011 Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award and the 2012 Marconi Prize. His titles include Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Member of the National Academy of Engineering. Samueli’s net worth is estimated to be between $1.7 and $2.3 billion.