Hedge fund manager David Harding has pledged £20 million ($32 million) to The Cavendish Laboratory of the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, England, to fund research seeking solutions to the effects on the environment of climate change and rapid global population growth.
Mr. Harding's gift — the largest donation to the physics lab since it was established in 1874 — will fund The Winton Program for the Physics of Sustainability, according to a news release from University of Cambridge. Researchers in the new program will apply physics to try to meet the world's growing demand for natural resources.
“The wonderful advances in the technology of semiconductors and the consequent computer revolution offer us great hope in dealing with some of the many challenges that are posed by the growing population ... Further breakthroughs in physics could have a huge positive impact on the world and right now there are many more extraordinarily interesting opportunities for groundbreaking research in this area than the resources to pursue it,” Mr. Harding wrote in an e-mailed response to a request for comment.
Mr. Harding, who is founder, chairman and head of research of managed futures manager Winton Capital Management Ltd., London, graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1982 with a degree in natural sciences, specializing in theoretical physics.