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Feb. 16, 2012 Volume 33, No. 20

Clothing mogul donates $5.5 million to MU research

The universityi has received a $5.5 million gift from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation to help finance efforts in the physical sciences to search for new alternative energy sources.

Announced Feb. 10, the donation will be used to create the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance, which will encourage collaboration from scientists in several disciplines, including physics, engineering, material science and chemistry. The scientists will study the fundamental physics of certain energy-producing reactions of unknown origin in their quest for alternative forms of energy and will use MU’s research reactor in some studies.

“We don’t know what the next big thing is because it probably hasn’t been invented yet,” said Robert Duncan, Vice Chancellor of MU Research. “This gift to MU’s scientists will give us the opportunity to explore new and empirical phenomena in the physical sciences, which may ultimately be transformative and could lead to a new form of alternative energy.

“Tomorrow’s solutions depend on scientific discoveries that are being made now,” Duncan said, “and hence on innovations that have not yet occurred.”

The gift will help MU researchers explore excess heat effects with specific chemicals. The research could result in a breakthrough that reveals secrets of a new alternative energy source.

“I chose the University of Missouri for this important gift because it is a comprehensive university, experienced in using its deep scientific research capacity across many fields with its firm commitment to serve the public good,” said Sidney Kimmel, founder and chair of The Jones Group, a leading designer and marketer of branded apparel and footwear.

“This may be futuristic, but when it comes to energy, our future is now,” Kimmel said.