A good article from the recent New Yorker on Jim Simons, the billionaire mathematician (subscription may be required).
One bit I found interesting:
In the years before the Second World War, private institutions such as Rockefeller University, in Manhattan, and the Institute for Advanced Study, which was funded by the Bamberger’s department-store heirs, came of age. But by the fifties the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other governmental organizations were paying for the vast majority of scientific research in America. For half a century, the government remained the dominant funder. But in the early aughts federal support began to dwindle, and philanthropy came roaring back, led by Silicon Valley billionaires. In 2015, for the first time since the Second World War, private money, including corporate contributions, provided most of the funding for basic-science research.