With a father who had a PhD in computer science and a mother who was a computer science professor at Michigan State University, it is no surprise to learn that young Larry Page was a bright kid, fascinated with computers. His father, Carl Victor Page, is considered a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence and he earned his PhD when this science was still in its early stages of development.
Carl and his wife Gloria were so fascinated with their work that they filled their house with PCs and science magazines. Larry and his older brother grew up in this environment and they both developed a passion for the intricate machines. At only six years of age, Larry started playing “with the stuff lying around” and soon afterwards his brother (also a successful internet businessman) taught him how to take thinks apart. It didn’t take long for the young boy to start disassembling everything he found in the house. According to Larry himself, he was only 12 years old when he was sure that he would someday have his own company, working with computers.
Born in East Lansing, Michigan, Lawrence Page (38 years old since March 26, 2011) went to school in Okemos, Michigan and was the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor”. In 1991 he graduated from East Lansing High School and then he went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Michigan. He got it with honors, then he went to the University of Stanford to obtain a Masters degree in the same field. During his time at Stanford, he was a member of the 1993 “Maize and Blue” Solar team and the president of the HKN in 1994. Also here, he created a Lego inkjet printer.
The next natural step in his education was to earn a PhD, so he enrolled for a computer science program at Stanford University. Here is where he met his talented partner, Sergey Brin. Both of them had a Jewish background, both of them came from intellectual families and both of them found the other obnoxious. They met when Sergey was assigned to show a group of new PhD candidates around. Larry was in this group. Fortunately for them (and for all Internet users today), they later discovered that they shared a strong fascination with computers and had a common interest in data mining and web searching engines. This eventually led to a great friendship and later to the birth of Google.
For his doctorate thesis, Larry started studying the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web and its link structures. He was encouraged to continue his exploration in this field by his supervisor, Terry Winograd, and so he began focusing on studying the way web pages were linked to other pages. He understood that this could make a perfect basis for a new search engine, and together with his colleague Sergey Brin (who had a vast experience in computer mining) started working on a new research project together.
Up until that time, search engines ranked their results according to the number of times the searched word appeared on a website. But this wasn’t the most efficient method of searching the Internet. Oftentimes the results were not relevant at all. So they explored another method for site-scoring and page ranking. They determined the importance and relevance of a web page according to the number and nature of backlinks (incoming links from other websites). The idea proved to be brilliant and the two PhD students found themselves forced to abandon their studies at Stanford in order to create their own company, which they called Google (an intentional misspelling of “googol”, the name of the number represented as a 1 followed by a hundred zeros). More about the company’s beginning and evolution you can find in Sergey Brin’s biography.
In 2007, Larry Page (already a billionaire) married Lucinda “Lucy” Southworth, the beautiful sister of model and actress, Carrie Southworth. Lucy is a research scientist and together they have one child. They got married on Necker Island, a Caribbean island belonging to Richard Branson.
Even though Google is his main occupation, this is not the only thing that preoccupies Larry’s mind. He is an active investor in Tesla Motors and in 2007 he was the executive producer of the film “Broken Arrows”, together with his business partner, Sergey. His interest in renewable energy solutions is very apparent in Google’s support to companies that produce plug-in hybrid vehicles and other alternative energy solutions, via Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the company.
It’s refreshing to see that some incredibly rich and successful people (Page is now the 24th richest man in the world and has an estimated net worth of $19.8 billion) support and encourage environmental-consciousness. But the thing we must really give Larry Page credit for is the fact that, together with Sergey Brin, he completely revolutionized the world of information by giving everybody access to everything on the Internet.