Geeky Stars: Celebrities Who Studied Science!

  Dec 11, 2017   Enago Academy
  : Beyond Publishing, PhD Café

Do you think having a degree in science, medical, or engineering can guarantee you a position either in academia or in industry? Absolutely not! Many students after completing their initial graduation in science end up pursuing other disciplines out of genuine interest or to develop a more professional career profile.

Similarly, over a period of time, few such science geeks have gone beyond the limitations of looking for professional jobs or research positions and become well-known celebrities. Let us have a look what these celebrities were up to before they picked up acting and music!


Brian May

Brian May

(Image Credits: Eddie Mallin via Wikipedia)

One of the founding members and guitarist of the band Queen, Brian May holds several accolades such as FRAS (Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society) and CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). In 1970, he started his PhD in Astrophysics at Imperial College, London, after obtaining his BSc degree in Physics. After ~30 years, in 2007, he returned to complete his doctoral thesis on ”Motions of Interplanetary Dust” and obtained his PhD in Astronomy.


Mayim Bialik


(Image Credits: iDominick via Wikipedia)

She is best known for her role as neurobiologist, Amy Farrah Fowler on ”The Big Bang Theory,” Mayim Bialik was also the lead in a famous 90’s sitcom ”Blossom.” In 2000, she completed her BS in Neuroscience and Hebrew & Jewish Studies from UCLA. In 2007, she earned her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA after completing her doctoral thesis on ”Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader–Willi syndrome.”


Natalie Portman

(Image Credits: Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

After debuting in ‘Léon: The Professional’ in 1994, Natalie Portman continued to gain recognition for her performance in movies such as ”Closer,” “Black Swan,” and ”V for Vendetta.” In 2003, she completed her BA in Psychology from Harvard University. Previously, in 1998, she was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search and co-authored the following study: ”Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy” (doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1170). In an interview for the New York Post, she mentioned, ”I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”


Ken Jeong


(Image Credits: Nan Palmero via Wikipedia)

He is best known for his role as “Leslie Chow” in the ‘Hangover’ trilogy and ”Ben Chang” for the sitcom ”Community.” Ken Jeong is also a physician, comedian, and actor who completed his graduation from Duke University, followed by an MD from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Interestingly, in a sitcom on ABC, he portrays the role Dr. Ken who is also a physician!


Rowan Atkinson


(Image Credits: Eva Rinaldi via Wikipedia)

For many of us, he has immortalized the character of ‘Mr. Bean’ through his perfect comic timing, Rowan Atkinson who has been awarded a CBE has also worked in acclaimed programs such as Blackadder and Not the Nine O’Clock News. Before becoming an actor, he completed his BSc in Electrical Engineering from University of Newcastle and MSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford.


Lisa Kudrow


(Image CreditsLan Bui via Wikipedia)

Lisa Kudrow gained global fame for her character ‘Phoebe Buffay’ in the famous sitcom, Friends. Although she played the character of a quirky masseuse, in hindsight she was possibly more qualified to be the palaentologist instead of Ross. As a student, Lisa earned her BS degree in Biology from Vassar College. Also, she did spend some time doing research with her father, Dr. Lee Kudrow, a well-renowned clinician in the field of headache medicine.


Eva Longoria


(Image Credits:Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

She is known for her role as ‘Isabella Braña’ on ‘The Young and the Restless’ and as ‘Gabrielle Solis’ in ‘Desperate Housewives’, Eva Longoria received BS degree in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She earned her MA degree in Chicano and Chicana Studies from California State University and her thesis was titled ‘Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers’.


Would you consider an alternate career and try your hand at different talents? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments section!

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