businessman and computer scientist, Google co-founder
born August 21, 1973
Sergey Brin is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Google, one of the most profitable Internet companies in the world.
Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems
Sergey Brin was born August 21, 1973, in Moscow (former Soviet Union) to Russian Jewish parents, Michael and Eugenia Brin. His father is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland and his mother is a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Brin’s father found that as a Jew in the Soviet Union the path to achieving his career ambitions was barred and that the same would be true for his son, Sergey. So in 1979 the family immigrated to the United States where Sergey earned his undergraduate degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1993. With a scholarship from the National Science Foundation he went on to Stanford University to embark upon a PhD program in computer science. He later took a leave from his studies to work with Larry Page on the project that would become known to the world as Google.
Brin met Larry Page at Stanford where they became good friends and found a common interest that would lead to the creation of a search engine that listed results according to the popularity of the pages. Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine after concluding that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant Web pages would be the most useful ones for the purposes of the search. At first they used their shared dorm room as a workshop, moving next to a rented garage in Menlo Park, California. Brin and Page solicited funds and investments from family and friends and launched their company in 1998.
They called the search engine Google after the mathematical term "googol," which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name is meant to reflect the scale of their mission which was to find a way to organize the immense amount of information available on the Web, and thus render it universally accessible and useful. In this vein, their achievement has been compared to that of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the mechanical printing press in 1440. The ‘mass’ production of previously hand-printed books afforded by Gutenberg’s technology, exponentially increased the distribution of knowledge and access to it, while at the same time rendering existing forms of censorship obsolete. Today Google is the number one Internet search engine in the world with over 5.9 billion searches made on it every day in 2013.
The many awards bestowed upon them reflect the magnitude of Brin’s and Page’s achievement: they have literally changed the way the world works. In 2004, Brin received the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award and the same year he also received the ‘Marconi Foundation Prize’ which is the highest award in e0ngineering. In 2009, he was included in the National Academy of Achievement.
As of March 2014, Forbes magazine estimated Brin’s personal fortune at $30.1billion, making him the 19th richest person in the world. In 2009, the same publication ranked him and Page the fifth most powerful men in the world. He is also a member of AmBAR, the group of Russian speaking business professionals in America.
With his former wife Anne Wojcicki, Brin has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a wide spectrum of causes, ranging from the environment, women’s issues, education, human rights, eliminating poverty in Northern California to Parkinson’s research and certain Jewish causes. Brin is a big supporter of alternative energy consumption and is trying to solve global energy and climate problems through Google’s philanthropic arm.
In 2008, Brin put $4.5 million down payment on a future space flight with space tourism company Space Adventures.
Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer. They Made America: From The Steam Engine To The Search Engine: Two Centuries Of Innovators. New York: Little, Brown, 2004, p. 460.