From Stanford University (US) : “Car batteries are the goal. Lithium is the quickest way to make them”

Stanford University Name

From Stanford University (US)

November 29, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
Felicity Barringer

Around 30 percent of the world supply of lithium is from South American brines.EARTHWORKS/CC BY-NC 2.0.

Decarbonizing global transportation requires building a huge quantity of batteries so fleets can convert to electric power. This will mean more mining to supply the lightweight metal lithium. So far, most lithium has come from Australia, South America, and China, but eyes are turning to deposits in the United States.

Mining has been a core activity of the American West for 200 years or more, though recent decades have seen its economy diversify into industries like tourism and services. But the push for a future free from fossil fuels is igniting a new rush to extraction: getting resources out of the ground for the batteries needed to decarbonize transportation.

Worldwide, the transportation sector emits 30 percent of the carbon dioxide warming the planet. Three quarters of that comes from cars, buses, and trucks on the road. Replacing gasoline-powered vehicles with electric ones will require millions of batteries. While battery technology is evolving, for the foreseeable future batteries will require the lightweight metal lithium as a key component. The International Energy Agency projects lithium demand will grow at least 13-fold by 2040.

Source: BloombergNEF Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019.

Those who care for the West’s – and the world’s – environmental future face a tricky choice.

Where to find domestic lithium? Attention turns to deposits in the Southwest.

Lithium deposits dot the Southwest. For the Biden administration increasing domestic lithium production is a priority. A recent federal Energy Department report said, “The worldwide lithium battery market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 in the next decade. The U.S. industrial base must be positioned to respond to this vast increase in market demand” to avoid the risks of depending on foreign suppliers. The image below shows the Energy Department’s goals.


The conundrum-to mine or not to mine-has roiled several rural western communities from the outskirts of California’s Death Valley to northern Nevada and western Arizona. The arguments vary by location, but belong to a larger debate over how to balance the need to slow global warming with the need to protect endangered species; preserve groundwater and support tribal rights while maintaining heritage sites.

Source: Geological Survey (US)
Geoff McGhee/Bill Lane Center for the American West.

Depending on where the deposit occurs, the process of extracting the lithium can be more-or less-damaging to western lands; species and historical sites. Lands of significance to Native American groups are spread around the West; and some of these intersect with lithium deposits. Lithium debates echo earlier arguments over solar installations in the desert producing carbon-free electricity or over dams that decimate fish runs but provide carbon-free hydropower.

“These old battles are coming up in a new context,” said Dan Reicher, whose resume includes stints as a former assistant secretary at the federal Energy Department and Google’s director of climate and energy initiatives and is now a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. “But the climate overlay has changed the whole equation in a very fundamental way. We have the ultimate threat to the planet. It’s making parties on all sides, in many cases, more willing to negotiate.”

The words of Glenn C. Miller support Reicher’s point. Speaking of a proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass in Nevada, the environmental chemist and longtime opponent of western mines said, “I think every technical person in the environmental community has no problem recognizing that some of these metals are going to be mined. They are important. Without them, we are looking at less reduction in the impacts of climate change.”

But John Hadder, a chemist heading the environmental group Great Basin Resource Watch, countered: “If we lower our guard, what are we letting ourselves in for?” Rick Eichstaedt, a lawyer for the Burns Paiute tribe, which is suing to stop the highly controversial Thacker Pass project, said of the lithium mine project, “We want to be sure a precedent isn’t set because there’s a pet green project in the pipeline.”

Seeking a balance among different environmental imperatives

Deeply felt environmental concerns can collide; traditional anti-mining passions have been seen from the Panamint Valley in eastern California to Thacker Pass in Nevada, where the federal Bureau of Land Management decides on applications to mine lithium. The opposition in the Panamint Valley has subsided since Battery Minerals, Inc., the company proposing lithium extraction, got permission to drill exploratory wells, and drilled two.

But anti-mining passions are white-hot at Thacker Pass in Nevada and the Big Sandy River Valley in western Arizona. At these sites, some tribal members oppose lithium mines on the grounds that mining will despoil lands whose history or use are fundamental to their culture. Other tribal members are more focused on the jobs created by such projects.

The proposed site of the Thacker Pass lithium mine in north-central Humboldt County, Nevada. Bob Tregilus, The Sierra Nevada Ally.

In Thacker Pass, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Lithium Americas Corp. seeks to use nearly 18,000 acres of federal land to carve a large open-pit mine and build a facility where sulfuric acid is used to extract the lithium from the mined mud. Trucks would bring in sulfur, an agricultural chemical, on narrow rural roads. A processing facility would turn it into sulfuric acid and use it to leach the lithium from the clay-like ore mined nearby.

Nearby ranchers fear the large amount of water needed for the process could lower groundwater tables. Lawsuits to block the project are pending, though a federal judge refused to halt the work pending her final decision.

Despite ample deposits the U.S. remains far behind in global lithium race.

This intersection of countervailing passions, as environmentalists weigh both the climate imperative and the cost of local environmental harm, comes amid official concern that the U.S. remains an also-ran in lithium production. A 2020 Institute for Defense Analyses report noted, “There are domestic reserves of lithium but currently little domestic mine production. With respect to refining, about half the lithium refining capacity is concentrated in China, followed by Chile and Argentina.” The lightweight metal is often found under salars, or arid areas where inland salt lakes may have evaporated.

How much lithium is there? The complexity in measuring the weight of available lithium mirrors the complications of extracting it from different deposits. Lithium can be contained in clay, minerals, and brine, and either leached out with acid, dissolved, or refined. The industry’s common measurement is a “lithium carbonate equivalent.” The weight of LCE is a little more than five times that of the lithium it contains.

The Thacker Pass plan envisions a 41-year project of extracting lithium carbonate, starting with 30,000 metric tons annually and growing to 60,000 metric tons annually. Four conservation groups have joined to oppose it.

Under an ‘accidental lake,’ backers tout lithium leached from brines.

Under California’s Salton Sea is a different lithium deposit, potentially much larger than the one at Thacker Pass, but one whose extraction could be less harmful to the environment, if the technology being tested works.

Extracting lithium from brines is not new in the Southwest, it has been practiced for years at the Silver Peak facility in Esmeralda County, Nevada; the owner, a North Carolina-based firm Albermarle, is expanding production. The company creates large evaporation ponds for the brine and uses large amounts of water; the evaporation process can take 18 months.

A brine evaporation pond used to extract lithium ore in southwestern Nevada’s Esmeralda County, run by the firm Albemarle. Ken Lund via Flickr.

A different, far less water-intensive process using brine, is being tested in Imperial County in southeastern California. Lithium is locked in hot brine nearly a mile below the Salton Sea – an accidental lake full of agricultural runoff, whose relentless evaporation has left its shores covered in toxic dust. If the method being tested works, it could mean production of 10 times the amount at Thacker Pass with a fraction of the water used at Silver Peak.

The economic and clean-energy potential of an area backers are calling “Lithium Valley” is a central focus of California energy experts, state government, and local officials in impoverished Imperial County. A 2020 California Energy Commission report said, “The current price of lithium carbonate is about $12,000 per ton, and the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area is capable of producing an estimated 600,000 tons per year of lithium carbonate with a value of $7.2 billion.”

On the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea, a CalEnergy geothermal power plant owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy is the site of a new push to extract lithium ore from brine under the lake. BHE Renewables.

The world’s current annual production was estimated at 431000 metric tons of LCE in 2020 which yielded 82000 metric tons of lithium.

Three companies are in the forefront of the Imperial Valley lithium push: Energy Source Minerals, the Australian firm Controlled Thermal Resources, which has already contracted with General Motors to sell its future lithium production, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which has been extracting brine to operate geothermal energy plants since 1982.

BHE’s 10 geothermal plants – including 23 production wells and 21 wells used to reinject the brine into the ground – already use the brine containing lithium to generate about 345 megawatts of power annually. Jonathan Weisgall, a vice president for government relations at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said that his company’s approach to refining lithium from brines will use “at least 90 percent less” water than other methods.

Maps showing the geothermal brine project area on the southeastern corner of the Salton Sea. The minerals charted are lithium carbonate, zinc, manganese and potassium chloride. California Energy Commission.

Could there be success in producing energy, lithium, and jobs?

The state’s optimistic vision is a trifecta for the Salton Sea region – companies producing energy, lithium, and jobs, including the possibility of attracting battery manufacturers to the area. The California Energy Commission in March of last year awarded $10 million in grants for lithium exploration, including a $6 million grant to Berkshire Hathaway Energy to create a pilot operation at 10 percent of the size of the one they aim to build.

Nowhere to be seen is the indigenous group opposition found at Thacker Pass. Two years ago the local Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian community sent a letter of support for Berkshire Hathaway’s project, saying it would bring “400 high-paying jobs” and be “far more environmentally sound than traditional lithium-recovery methods today, which rely on either environmentally destructive evaporation ponds… or open-pit mining.…”

But, even with the support by the state and local officials and the small footprint of the project, some opposition simmers. The fear, perhaps linked to the dust storms filling the air with toxic material from the receding Salton Sea, is that the project will harm public health. The process to be used allows direct lithium extraction within the existing geothermal closed loop process. No evidence of danger exists, but opponents want evidence there’s no danger.

One commenter at a Nov. 17 public forum on Zoom wrote in the chat, “The benefits do not outweigh the risks in public health…. Public health is not negotiable.” Another wrote, “If this is brand new, why experiment on us?” But to date there have been no public protests.

The potential benefit and potentially small environmental footprint of lithium extraction near the Salton Sea could set it apart from other industrial projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and slow climate change.

While environmental groups lack consensus, public opposition can stop a project in its tracks

But public opposition can kill clean-energy projects in the West. A few months ago, the developers planning the country’s largest solar panel project, covering 14 square miles and sitting atop the scenic Mormon Mesa north of Las Vegas, pulled out. Local residents successfully fought the proposed 850-megawatt project, decrying their loss of the mesa view and of hiking and camping land.

Public comment session during Lithium Valley Commission Zoom meeting in Nov. 2021

“Whether it’s lithium or any number of other things, [the arguments] often take you to the difference between local groups and national groups,” said Reicher. Frank Maisano, an energy company lobbyist, added, “There’s always going to be a local element that drives environmental communities.” The high profile of environmental justice issues makes the tribal protests at Thacker Pass more consequential.

Reicher remains hopeful, based on his experience as an integral player in the resolution of major arguments over hydroelectric dams. Hydropower operators and environmental groups reached a major agreement 13 months ago – and will get billions of dollars in support from the new infrastructure bill – allowing for more hydropower and less environmental damage from dams.

“Overall, things are changing,” Reicher said “The climate imperative is beginning to sink in even for groups that might be fighting a project in their backyard.”

The change he talks of is still a work in progress in lithium country. The Sierra Club is trying to square the circle and offer clear guidance on assessing new lithium projects. It hasn’t yet succeeded. In a recent letter presenting its lengthy statement on lithium mining, the Club’s conservation policy committee offered no opinion on the Salton Sea geothermal brine projects, saying it didn’t know enough.

As for projects like the proposed open-pit mine at Thacker Pass, the group punted, saying, “We hand off the dilemma of how to tightly balance” the club’s mining policy and its respect for indigenous rights “against the need for new materials in a just energy transition.”

The climate imperative hasn’t ended the arguments over lithium extraction in the West.

See the full article here .

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Stanford University campus

Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University (US) to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

Non-central campus

Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

On the founding grant:

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

Off the founding grant:

Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

Administration and organization

Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

Endowment and donations

The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University(US), the University of Texas System(US), and Yale University(US) had larger endowments than Stanford.

In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

Research centers and institutes

DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)
Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
Center for Ocean Solutions
Together with UC Berkeley(US) and UC San Francisco(US), Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

Discoveries and innovation

Natural sciences

Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

Computer and applied sciences

ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and UC Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

Businesses and entrepreneurship

Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

Student body

Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
“Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
“Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
“Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
“Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
“Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

Award laureates and scholars

Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
109 members of National Academy of Engineering
76 members of National Academy of Medicine
288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
49 members of American Philosophical Society
56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
4 Pulitzer Prize winners
31 MacArthur Fellows
4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
14 AAAI fellows
2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

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