We live in a day and age where news and entertainment often focus more on public deeds and appearances than personal accomplishment. Science is often viewed as “uncool” in today’s digital age, so let’s take a look at some celebrities that you didn’t know are also scientists!
Actress Mayim Bialik was a teen star in the early 90s before later accepting the role as the loveable late-bloomer Amy Farrah Fowler in the smash television series The Big Bang Theory. Bialik’s real-life studies run parallel to that of her television character as both Bialik and Fowler hold a PhD in neuroscience. The actress received a B.S. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2000 but took a break from her studies in 2005. She eventually returned to UCLA and completed her dissertation on behaviors of people afflicted with Prader-Willi syndrome. Bialik was later awarded a PhD in neuroscience.
Lisa Kudrow is a comedy actress most well-known for her portrayal of the lovable but airheaded Phoebe Buffay in Friends. Kudrow’s career has focused on comedy, but how many people knew that she holds a BA in biology from Vassar College? Kudrow’s father is a physician and specializes in researching and treating headaches. The lively starlet got her degree with the intention of helping her father with his research. Kudrow worked as a member of her father’s staff for nearly a decade as she also worked on developing her acting career. Kudrow earned a research credit when she assisted her father in his study on left-handed individuals that developed cluster headaches.
Atkinson is another star that is rarely taken seriously due to his focus on comedy. The star was rated among the Top 50 Comedians Ever by his peers and is most known for his character, Mr. Bean, a quiet but childish character and often finds himself in hilarious predicaments. The English actor excelled in science during high school. He attended Newcastle University, where he received a degree in electrical and electronic engineering. Atkinson received an MSc in Electrical Engineering from The Queen’s College in Oxford just a year before developing his first comedy series.
Natalie Portman is an actress known for her beauty as well as for accepting riveting roles. She has appeared in films such as The Professional, V for Vendetta, and Black Swan. The actress participated in the Intel Science Talent Search in 1998. She reached the semi-finals, just a year before she portrayed the role as Padme/Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Portman was so dedicated to her education that she continued her studies while filming the series. She enrolled in Harvard in 1999 and received a degree in psychology in 2003, balancing both her professional and academic careers.
Actor Ken Jeong is a recognizable face on the big screen, most known for his role as Leslie Chow in the hit comedy film The Hangover. Years before he received his breakout role, he was known as Dr. Jeong. The actor often appeared at local open-mic improv nights while still studying medicine in North Carolina and Louisiana. Jeong later received his PhD and was a physician of internal medicine in Woodland Hills, California. He later transitioned into acting as a full-time career but still holds a license to practice medicine in California.
Filmmaker George Miller is the director of the Mad Max film franchise and the animated film Happy Feet. He was still studying medicine at The University of New South Wales when he launched his filmmaking career.
Rocker Dexter Holland, the lead singer of The Offspring, attended the University of Southern California but halted his studies to focus on his music career. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology in 2017.