The quest to unlock the secrets of the universe got a boost last week after Sir Michael Hintze dropped $1.5 million into the kitty at the University of Oxford Centre for Astrophysical Surveys. The centre is surveying the night sky in an effort to answer questions about the universe. Hintze founded the $13 billion hedge firm CQS. The Oxford money will be channeled through the family’s Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. The money will pay for a team of scientists, astrophysicists and graduate students who will be part of an international team taking surveys of the night sky.
Hintze is well-known in the hedge fund community as a passionate supporter of physics and mathematics. He has earned degrees in mathematics, physics and electrical engineering from the University of Sydney. Hintze’s CQS is a multi-strategy asset firm based in Europe. The Hintze family charity has funded more than 200 projects since its inception in 2005. Hintze is chairman of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and is co-chair of the Old Vic Endowment Trust. Hintze released a statement that applauded the exploration of dark energy and dark matter that will be undertaken at Oxford. The research will “give insights into new fields of endeavour and provide us with the technologies to better understand the origins and fate of our universe,” Hintze said. The Eighth annual Hintze Lecture is set to commence at the Department of Physics at Oxford University. A lecture will be presented by Harvard University astronomer professor David Charbonneau that will discuss the intriguing topic of exoplanets outside our solar system. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars in other systems of our Milky Way galaxy.
Astronomers recently announced that the one-thousandth exoplanet has been mapped and catalogued. This has sent scientists on a quest to find the mythical Goldilocks planet in the Milky Way. A Goldilocks planet is one that has the precise conditions to support Earth-like life. To date, about 50 planets have qualified for the Goldilocks designation and are under study.