Russian Businessman to Sink $100 Million Into Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Today, in a live webcast originating from London and set for 6:30 am Eastern, the Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, along with the physicist Stephen Hawking, is announcing his intentions to change that. Watch the event below.

Although Milner has made his name—and billions of dollars—through investments in Facebook, Alibaba, and many other tech start-ups, his true passion is science, which he has demonstrated through his formation of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. This organization awards the world’s most lavish scientific prizes.

Milner’s latest project is part of the Foundation’s new Breakthrough Initiatives division and is called Breakthrough Listen. Providing $100 million in funding over the next decade to top SETI researchers, Breakthrough Listen will allow new state-of-the-art radio and optical surveys to take place using the world’s premiere telescopes, creating the most ambitious and robust SETI program yet performed. The project is set to begin making observations in 2016.

Following the live webcast, Milner and distinguished scientists participating in Breakthrough Listen will conduct a media teleconference to discuss the new project and answer questions. Scientific American will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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