STEMtastic! The wonderful, weird, and wild world of science/technology/engineering/math

Celebrities in STEM

Some of the biggest stars of the past few decades have surprising backgrounds in science, math, and engineering! Check out the fascinating STEM credentials of these celebrities.

 

Mayim Bialik

Actress who stars as neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory

STEM Credentials: Bialik is actually a neuroscientist! After the run of her hit series Blossom, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at UCLA. Bialik went on to earn her PhD in Neuroscience in 2007.

 

Art Garfunkel

Grammy-winning singer and actor; best known as half, with Paul Simon, of the smash duo Simon & Garfunkel in the 60s and 70s

STEM Credentials: Garfunkel earned a master’s degree in Math from Columbia University in 1967. He did some coursework toward a PhD in Math Education at Columbia during the height of his musical career. His brother Jerome helped write the programming language COBOL.

 

Rowan Atkinson

British actor, comedian, and screenwriter best known for his roles in the TV series Blackadder and Mr. Bean

STEM Credentials: Atkinson received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Newcastle College in 1975. He went on to earn a master’s in electrical engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford, while pursuing acting and comedy on the side.

 

Lisa Kudrow

Actress who starred as Phoebe on the TV show Friends (1994–2004); currently stars in Web Therapy on Showtime 

STEM Credentials: Kudrow received a BS in Biology from Vassar College. She researched cluster headaches with her father, Dr. Lee N. Kudrow, before making it big in acting.

 

Dexter Holland

Lead singer of the rock band The Offspring

STEM Credentials: Holland received a BS in Biology and a master’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California. He began doctoral studies in Molecular Biology but left academia for music. He is currently back in school as a doctoral student at the Keck School of Medicine.

 

Herbie Hancock

Jazz keyboardist and composer 

STEM Credentials: Hancock graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with degrees in music and electrical engineering. Although he never worked as an engineer, his engineering education played a part in his experimentation in electronic jazz fusion.

 

Danica McKellar

Actress best known for her role as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years

STEM Credentials: McKellar graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1998 with a degree in math. She is a passionate advocate of education, especially encouraging girls in middle and high school to be curious and confident in math. She’s written four nonfiction books about math: Math Doesn’t Suck; Kiss My Math; Hot X: Algebra Exposed; and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape.

 

Dolph Lundgren

Actor and martial artist; most famous for his role as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV

STEM Credentials: After receiving an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Washington State University, Lundgren graduated at the top of his class in 1982 with a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT in 1983 but left to eventually pursue acting.

 

Natalie Portman

Actress who starred as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy; won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in 2010’s Black Swan

STEM Credentials: Portman earned a degree in Psychology from Harvard in 2003. During her studies, she co-authored two articles that appeared in scientific journals.

 

Huey Lewis

Rock singer, songwriter, and front man of the rock band Huey Lewis and the News; perhaps most famous for singing “The Power of Love,” the theme song of the 1985 film Back to the Future

STEM Credentials: While attending high school in New Jersey, Lewis achieved a perfect score of 800 on the math portion of the SAT! He spent two years in the engineering program at Cornell University, but he left in his junior year to pursue a career in music. 

 

Dan Grimaldi

Actor best known for his role as twins Philly and Patsy Parisi on The Sopranos

STEM Credentials: Grimaldi has a PhD in Data Processing from the City University of New York. He teaches in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.

 

Brian May

Lead guitarist of the rock band Queen

STEM Credentials: In the 1970s, May earned a BS from the Imperial College of London. Midway through a doctorate in astrophysics, he took a 30-year break to play a little guitar in one of history’s greatest rock bands. He finished his doctorate in 2007. 

Created by: 
Anne Bunce
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