Shadbold, Jack – inventor, billionaire, philanthropist. On 15 August 2005, after a long battle with cancer.
Born to a poor family in Durban, South Africa, in 1933, Jack Shadbold worked in the Kimberley diamond mines before emigrating to Australia in 1952, where he acquired a degree from the University of Adelaide's School of Electrical Engineering. His extraordinary technical gifts quickly became apparent, and after publishing several groundbreaking papers, in 1958 he moved to California to take up a position with Fairchild Semiconductor.
Shadbold did not stay long at Fairchild; his independent streak, called stubborn intransigence by some, led him to found his own laboratory, where he spent the next twenty years inventing and patenting numerous innovative tools and processes, mostly to do with semiconductor fabrication. The licensing of these patents by Intel and IBM soon brought Shadbold enormous wealth. He is also believed to have done a considerable amount of work over a period of several decades for the Department of Defense, and in particular its Advanced Research Projects Agency, but any such records have not yet been declassified.
Shadbold never married, had no children, and preferred to stay out of the public eye; he lived as off-the-record an existence as was possible for a man of his wealth and ability. His only recognizable hobby was sailing. He quietly bankrolled at least two America's Cup teams, and indulged in a series of increasingly grandiose yachts, culminating with the massive, entirely computer-controlled Lazarus. A superluxury yacht with decorations worthy of Versailles, Lazarus was the world's largest single-masted sailing vessel before, in a tragic and inexplicable accident, it was consumed by flames and sank off the Oregon coast, only weeks before Shadbold passed away.
Jack Shadbold was diagnosed with the throat cancer that would eventually take his life in 1995, and battled it bravely for almost a decade. It was this diagnosis that triggered Shadbold's career as a philanthropist. He privately funded hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of cancer-related research, the results of which have been posthumously published and donated patent-free to the world. While it is too early to judge the long-term repercussions, initial reaction from leading scientists indicates that Shadbold's research is likely to play a vitally important part in the war on cancer.
The bulk of Shadbold's estate was left to a foundation whose beneficiaries are the impoverished residents of areas of Third World nations where throat cancers are particularly prevalent, and in particular, the Kishkinda region of south India. The remainder will ensure all-expenses-paid treatment for all American throat cancer patients, for however long they need it. These great gifts add up to a stirring and suitable legacy for a man who will long be remembered as a modern titan, a humble genius, and one of the great humanitarians of his age.
About The Author
Jon Evans is the award-winning author of the international thrillers DARK PLACES, BLOOD PRICE, INVISIBLE ARMIES, NIGHT OF KNIVES, and SWARM, as well as the Vertigo Crime graphic novel THE EXECUTOR and his "children's book for grown-ups" BEASTS OF NEW YORK. His novels have won an Arthur Ellis Award, a ForeWord Book Of The Year medal, translation into six languages, and praise from The Economist, The Times, and The Washington Post. Most of them are freely available online. His journalism has appeared in Wired, The Guardian, Reader's Digest, The Globe and Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. He can be found online at www.rezendi.com.
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