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July 21, 2015

Russian Tech Tycoon Pledges $100 Million for ET Search

A Russian Internet billionaire has committed $100 million to support an unprecedented expansion of the search for signs of extraterrestrial life, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Associated Press report.

Yuri Milner announced the pledge at a news conference in London on Monday, accompanied by renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and other prominent scientists.

A one-time physics student who founded Russia's biggest Internet company and has stakes in several major Silicon Valley firms, Mr. Milner helps support the $3 million Breakthrough Prize for achievements in the life sciences. The 10-year "Breakthrough Listen" project, led by astronomers at the University of California at Berkeley, will vastly compound scientists' ability to sweep the galaxy for signals from alien races, using large optical and radio telescopes in California, West Virginia, and Australia.