Nobel scientist makes first donation to new ANU-US foundation

6 February 2015

Nobel laureate and ANU astrophysicist Professor Brian Schmidt AC has made the first donation to a new United States-based ANU charitable foundation.

The ANU Foundation USA mission is to promote excellence in education and research at ANU by managing donations and gifts from ANU alumni and friends in the United States.

Professor Schmidt, a dual US-Australian citizen, has made the first contribution to the foundation by donating proceeds from his 2015 Breakthrough Prize, to help further astronomical research at the ANU.

“I’m delighted to make this donation, to help further research into astronomy at the ANU and to give back to the University, which has given me great opportunities throughout my academic life,” Professor Schmidt said.

The donation is worth more than $200,000 in Australian dollars.

ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Young AO, thanked Professor Schmidt for his generosity.

“Professor Schmidt’s donation is a tremendous act of generosity and wonderful start to the new foundation,” Professor Young said.

Professor Schmidt last November won the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, sharing the $3 million in prize money with a team of 50 scientists, for discovering that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating.

In 2011, Professor Schmidt, along with colleague Adam Riess (Johns Hopkins University) of the High-Z SN Search Team and Saul Perlmutter (University of California, Berkeley) of the Supernova Cosmology Project, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery.

The ANU Foundation USA is run by a group of volunteers from among more than 2,000 ANU alumni in the United States.

Adam Ford, Foundation chairman and President ANU Alumni Association (North America), thanked Professor Schmidt for his generosity.

“The Board of Directors and I are thrilled to receive this first donation and would like to thank Professor Schmidt for his support for the Foundation’s mission,” he said.

The Foundation was established as a non-profit organisation under Section 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code.