In the weird and wonderful world of celebrities; we know everything about the current affairs of our national icons and figures; but little do we know of their backgrounds. This blog will take you through Numberfit's top 10 celebs who studied Mathematics (Mathematics related subjects) at degree level or higher. There are more than a few I’m sure, no one would have guessed!
And kicking off our top 10 celebrity mathematicians is probably the most infamous…
“One from the top and 5 small please!”…Carol Vorderman is best known from her time on Countdown. Vorderman was the maths guru on the show from the start of the show. (1982 – 2008) Studying Engineering at Cambridge, Carol Vorderman went on to become one of the nations most loved celebrities who broke the mould and the stereotype of the quintessential mathematician. We have a lot to thank Ms Vorderman for; over the years helping to create interest in numeracy. (Maybe with the help of her good looks!)
You may have guessed the second celebrity Mathlete in our list; being Rachel Riley, the Countdown successor to Carol Vorderman! Tall, blonde and equally as good looking; it was obvious that Channel 4 wisely continued to stick with an attractive female to help teach the nation mathematics on our screens daily. And rightly so; Rachel is an academic who studied Mathematics at Oxford University after gaining 4 A’s at ‘A’ Level. A regular celebrity on our screens today, Rachel also helps increase the awareness and excitement around maths by being the ambassador for World Maths Day!
The first male to be included in our list, the well-loved Irish comedian; may not have come as a surprise because he has quite prominently shown his intellect in the majority of projects he is involved with on our big screen. Using intelligence in his comedy and being the host of/regularly involved in “School of Hard Sums”, “QI”, “ Have I Got News For You?” and “Dara O’Briains Science Club”, Dara is happy to share his love for learning, Mathematics and science! Studying Mathematics and theoretical Physics at University College Dublin, we are glad that our best loved stand-up comedian is an intellectual and a mathematical one at that!
The 3rd successive attractive female on our list! Not what you expected?! Cindy Crawford, the famous American model; being named as the highest paid model of the 1990’s by Forbes. Cindy Crawford didn’t complete her university degree but gained a scholarship to study Chemical Engineering (with Mathematics) at Northwestern University. In fact she only completed a quarter; but this was due to the fact she dropped out to fulfil her full time modelling career! Can we blame her?!
Maybe one of the more surprising celebrities to pop up on our list; the guitarist for possibly the most famous group to date, “Queen”. May has an education section on his CV that most would be jealous of. Whilst studying Physics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at ‘A’ Level, he went on to study mathematics and physics at Imperial College, London. As I’m sure will also come as a surprise, is that before becoming a huge hit with “Queen” Mr May, was exactly that…a mathematics teacher! He describes on his website the importance of making maths enjoyable. “If you can improve the image of maths, it seems like a good scheme to me. I was lucky because my dad did it for me, he made it fun. If you can make it fun, you're home and dry."
Often described as the greatest ever NBA player, Michael Jordan, perhaps more well known for his basketball ability, studied Mathematics until his junior year at college. With all college players having to pass Maths and English at college to play on the team, Jordan excelled in Mathematics and his enjoyment for the subject was reflected in his class choices. Lucky he was good with numbers, as Michael Jordan happened to be the highest paid earner and one of only 2 players ever (Kobe Bryant) to earn over $30,000,000 in one year!!
The Liverpool and England full back, came as a surprise to me when I read in 2012 that Johnson in his down time from playing is studying for his Mathematics degree at the Open University where he is in his 3rd and final year. Johnson admitted that he was a good mathematician at school but football got in the way of him studying the subject further. With a sport that isn’t associated or known for players who have degrees, we think that it is great players spend their time wisely, especially when so many retired players have ended up bankrupt. A thirst for knowledge and a good understanding of numbers is an essential life skill that not too many footballers possess.
Of course Lois Lane would have a degree in Maths! (After all she is married to Superman!!) Also known for her roles more recently in Desperate Housewives, the American actress studied Mathematics and Engineering at De Anza College in Cupertino. Whilst quite bewildering to us, the actress was the daughter of a Nuclear Physicist and Electrical Engineer; so maybe it is less bizarre now that the actress started out as a maths whizz at school and college.
One for the slightly older generation, but Virginia Wade, the last English woman to win Wimbledon, back in 1977. Before winning 7 Grand Slam events (singles and doubles) and being named as the 4th most successful woman tennis player ever, Wade graduated with a BSc in Mathematics from Sussex University in 1966. You must have a maths degree to work out how many years it has been since an English woman has won Wimbledon!
All four members of Britain’s best-selling band of the 21st Century happen to be intellectuals; with 4 degrees between the foursome. The degrees studied include: Ancient World studies, Astronomy, Engineering and of course the all-important Mathematics degree. Can you guess which one has the mathematics degree? Topical, mathematics can be found in the names of many Coldplay songs; including: Twisted Logic, Square One, Proof, One I Love, Major Minus and 42.