5 Physicists Who Started Their Own Business

Successful companies started by famous physicists. How anyone can become an entrepreneur? Scientists who are billionaires after studying physics.
physicists who became successful entrepreneurs

It is said that anyone can start a business - and scientists too have delved into entrepreneurship from time to time. As physics and technology are closely related, most companies by physicists are technological - but there is one exception of a fast food chain!

1. Peter Buck

Peter Buck was an American physicist who co-founded the Subway fast food chain of restaurants. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in physics at Columbia University. Buck specialized in nuclear physics and worked for General Electric company for a while.

In 1965, Buck loaned $1000 to family friend Fred DeLuca and advised him to open a sandwich shop. Initially, the company was named Pete's Super Submarines. In 1974, they started franchising out the restaurant and renamed it to Subway sandwiches.

As of June 2021, Subway sandwiches had 37,540 locations in more than 100 countries and territories. It was also the fastest growing fast food chain in 2015.

2. Akio Morita

Akio Morita was a Japanese physicist and entrepreneur who co-founded the Sony corporation - initially named Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation - with physicist Masaru Ibuka.

Morita was born into a business family and was trained to one day overtake the operations. However, Morita found his true calling in mathematics and physics. He graduated from Osaka Imperial University with a degree in physics in 1944.

Sony sold the first tape recorder in Japan in 1950. In 1957, Sony also launched pocket sized radio - a precursor to Walkman which was introduced in 1979. It is believed that Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, wanted his company to create products that Akio would love.

3. Robert Noyce

Nicknamed the "mayor" of Silicon valley, Robert Noyce was an American physicist and inventor who co-founded the Intel corporation in 1968.

As a child, Noyce would build remote controlled aircraft and radio from scratch. He was a multi-talented person who not only exhibited a talent for mathematics in high school, but also sang at college and was part of the swimming team.

He graduated with a BA in physics and mathematics in 1949 and received his doctorate in physics from MIT in 1953. Noyce was hooked when his physics professor showed in one class the very first transistors invented at Bell labs.

In 1959, Noyce invented a new type of integrated circuit made of Silicon, that triggered a personal computing revolution later on, and gave Silicon valley its name. Today, the company Intel is inseparably linked to the business of personal computers.

4. Cecil Howard Green

Cecil Howard Green was a British-born American geophysicist, electrical engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded Texas Instruments in 1951. He also set up the University of Texas at Dallas in 1969.

Green was employed at Geophysical Service Incorporated, a petroleum exploration company. He purchased the entire business with colleagues in 1941 and they started manufacturing electrical instruments during the World War.

Today, Texas Instruments company holds over 45,000 patents worldwide! The growth of his company made Green an enormously wealthy man and he turned to philanthropy, giving away $200 million to educational and medical causes.

5. Ray Dolby

Ray Dolby was an American physicist, engineer and entrepreneur who invented a noise reduction system for use in audio tape recording in 1965 - the same year he also founded his company, Dolby laboratories in London.

physicists who started business (entrepreneurship)

Dolby received a bachelor degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University (1957). He went on to complete a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge in 1961 by winning the Marshall scholarship.

Dolby left in his will a sum of £35 million to Pembroke College of University of Cambridge. His family also donated a further £85m to the University's Cavendish Laboratory. Today, Dolby is a leading developer of audio technologies for cinema, home theatres and mobile phones.

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