Why the hard sciences?
In recent years there’s been great innovation in the world of bits (i.e. computing) but less in the world of atoms (i.e hard engineering), to quote Peter Thiel. The world needs more technological advancement in the physical world, e.g. to lower the cost of clean energy, in order to support its advances in computing.
Why underprivileged countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia?
There is great technical talent in the developing world, as evidenced by the fact that the CEO’s of Microsoft, Alphabet, Adobe, IBM, and Twitter are currently all Indian, to pick just one country. The smartest undergraduates in affluent countries like the USA, the UK, Israel and Japan most likely have their educational needs met at home, whereas those from developing countries would almost certainly benefit from going to an international centre of education to maximise their career prospects, so that they can have the greatest impact on the world.
Of course, students moving to the UK can experience culture shock, which is one of the reasons I picked mentors from around the world to help them.
Why a one-year masters?
There are multiple reasons to fund a one-year masters rather than an undergraduate degree or PhD:
1) Both undergrad degrees and PhD’s are currently better-funded than masters: 80% of PhD’s get funding, whereas only 20% of masters do. For this reason masters are known as the “broken bridge” of academic philanthropy.
2) Although a masters is more expensive per-year than an undergrad degree, funding a 1-year masters is less expensive than funding a 3-year undergraduate degree.
3) There’s a cap on the number of undergraduates Cambridge University can take on each year, so if you fund an undergraduate degree you’re potentially merely changing who the space gets allocated to rather than creating a place. However the number of masters students is only limited by funding, so by funding a one-year masters you’re growing the total number of students at Cambridge.
4) It’s easier the assess the academic record of a university student than a school student.
5) An undergraduate who’s chosen to specialize is more likely to pursue a career in their field than a school student choosing their undergraduate degree.
Where does the name come from?
When naming the scholarship I considered several possibilities and tested them on people. I didn’t want to name it after myself because then it would be hard getting other people to invest in it. One name I considered was the “Abacus Scholarship” since an abacus is an early piece of technology, and the scholarship would then be at the top of any alphabetical list. Everyone I asked voted for the “Tigris Scholarship”, which is the name of my cat. I was skeptical until I attended Summit Palm Desert in 2022, and people started telling other people, “this guy is naming a scholarship after his cat”. I then realised that the Tigris Scholarship is remarkable, in the original sense of the word, meaning “worth remarking about”. So if you think it’s funny that someone named a scholarship in the hard sciences at Cambridge University after his cat, please tell them about it and link them to tiggy.org (my cat’s nickname).
Tigris the cat was named by my ex. My ex is Bangladeshi, and Tiggy is half Bengal, half tabby. “Tigris” is both a river that flows through Bangladesh and the word for “tiger” in Latin.