Legacy Fund Protects Samuel Blasker’s Commitment to Science and Innovation

Former San Diego aeronautical engineer Samuel L. Blasker had a strong passion for science and technology.

As he once described it, “old problems require new thinking for resolution.” Samuel believed in encouraging and supporting innovative approaches to solve the critical problems facing us today.

While working for Convair, an American aircraft manufacturing company, Samuel saw firsthand the value of scientific innovation. He was instrumental in pioneering many of the aerospace technologies the world relies on today.

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So when Samuel started planning for his future, it was only natural that he establish a formal means to encourage and promote scientists just like himself.

Before his passing, Samuel left an $8 million legacy endowment fund to The San Diego Foundation in his will. The fund was created to directly invest in those current and future scientists who could make significant impacts to improve the quality of life in San Diego, as well as the world.

Science & Technology Program

To honor Samuel’s wishes, The San Diego Foundation setup the Science & Technology Program to inspire and support new ways of thinking. In accordance with Samuel’s charitable goals, the fund advances the frontiers of science across disciplines, including biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, oceanography, computer science, sociology and ethics.

Since 1999, the Science & Technology Program has granted over $7.6 million to more than 150 scientists and engineers in San Diego.

Grant projects address a broad spectrum of new technology through investments in research and STEM education. For example, in the past decade, ultra-short pulsed lasers have opened the door to new advancements used in precision medical surgery, communications and micromachining.

With support from the Science & Technology Program, Associate Professor of Physics at San Diego State University Matt Anderson, Ph.D. was able to advance research developing a technique for creating and manipulating classical and quantum states of light that help advance innovation and discovery in the field of neuroscience.

SDSU Laser System

The Science & Technology Program helped SDSU Associate Professor Matt Anderson, Ph.D. advance research developing a technique for creating and manipulating classical and quantum states of light.

“The grant provided me with a unique opportunity to build a world-class, ultra-fast laser facility at San Diego State University,” said Dr. Anderson. He also leveraged the grant to attract extramural funding, publish papers, graduate students and attract significant collaborators. “It is a real pleasure for me to give something back to the people and students of San Diego, and it is largely due to the generous support of the Blasker Grants Program.”

Dr. Anderson’s work is one of many examples of the impact the Science & Technology Program has had within the region.

Thanks to Samuel L. Blasker’s vision, and The San Diego Foundation’s stewardship of his legacy gift, the region continues to stay at the top of scientific growth and innovation.

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