Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen isn’t the only Seattle billionaire interested in the study of the brain. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos today announced that he’s donating $15 million to the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, creating what will be called the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics.
Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, graduated from Princeton with honors. The new center will be led by Dr. David Tank, co-director of the institute.
“Professor Tank and his colleagues are on an epic quest to unravel one of humankind’s greatest challenges — understanding the brain,” Bezos said in a statement. “New tools and techniques are making possible discoveries that would have been unthinkable just two decades ago. We can hope for advancements that lead to understanding deep behaviors, more effective learning methods for young children, and cures for neurological diseases. MacKenzie and I are delighted and excited to support Princeton in their focus on fundamental neuroscience.”
At the new center, researchers will be investigating the science of how decisions are made or memories are recalled. Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman said that the institute is “grappling with some of the most fascinating questions in the scientific world today, and the Bezos Center will significantly advance our understanding of how the brain works.”
As I noted above, Bezos is not alone in his interest in the study of how the brain works. Paul Allen donated $100 million in 2003 to create the non-profit Allen Institute for Brain Science, which is studying how the brain works.
Bezos is the 13th richest person in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $19.1 billion, according to Forbes.
The online retail pioneer has been giving some of that money to new causes as of late, some a bit odd and some local. Earlier this year, Bezos emerged as the primary backer of the 10,000 Year Clock being built in a Texas mountain. In August, he also donated $10 million to create the “Center for Innovation” at The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle