More Surprising Celebrities Who Love STEM

28th August 2017

Several years ago, we published an article featuring numerous celebrities who either held maths degrees, studied maths at a graduate level or generally had an enthusiasm for maths.

This time we are widening the net and also including famous people who have studied or have a passion for STEM subjects, such as various types of engineering. Many students do not fully realise that to study engineering and other STEM subjects it is imperative that you have a very good understanding of mathematics. These celebrities certainly understood that and some of them will no doubt surprise you.

Such as…

Cindy Crawford

Yes, you read that right, the incredibly famous supermodel who was the face of the nineties. Crawford modeled for Versace, Revlon, Clairol, Maybelline, Pepsi and appeared on countless magazine covers from Sports Illustrated to Vogue. But before her modelling career hit the stratosphere, she actually studied chemical engineering at Northwestern University, Illinois.

Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering which deals with the application of physical science and life sciences with mathematics to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. Not just a pretty face then!

Huey Lewis

As in lead singer and songwriter for the hit 80s band Huey Lewis and the News, who became extra famous when their iconic track ‘The Power Of Love’ featured in the wildly successful film ‘Back To The Future’. Lewis was a gifted maths student scoring a perfect 800 on his SATs and was accepted to the prestigious Cornell university to study engineering.

He dropped out to backpack around Europe for a year however and even though on his return he gave college another go for six months it became clear his future lay in the music business. Still, he clearly had ‘mad skills’ when it came to mathematics.  

Natalie Portman

The Intel Science Talent Search is an annual competition organized by the Society for Science & the Public and is considered the elite scientific competition for young people in America. Back in high school Portman reached the semi-finals with a paper entitled “A Simple Method To Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar”.

After winning an Oscar for ‘Black Swan’ and playing Queen Amidala in the massively successful Star Wars franchise she then went on to study neuroscience at Harvard University.

The beautiful Oscar winner has such an enthusiasm for maths and science that she also actually guest edited an issue of 'Scholastic Math' magazine.

Not only that but while starring in ‘Thor: The Dark World’ she fronted a competition for teenage girls promoting careers in STEM. Here is the promotional video in which she shares her passion for all things STEM.

Dennis Bergkamp

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation having scored a goal against Newcastle United which has been voted the best Premier League goal of all-time this Dutch footballer played for Arsenal for over 10 years.

Bergkamp has been a household name and a hero to many football fans, but we bet they have no idea that their idol also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bath - yet still has a fear of flying! Here is a quote from the man himself showing how he applied maths to his football career.

“When I played in Holland, I always tried to lob the goalkeeper. People used to say, ‘Oh, you’re always only trying to make a nice goal’. But I said, ‘listen, if the goalie is a little bit off his line, how much space do you have on his left or right? It’s not a lot. And how much space do you have above him? There is more. It’s a question of mathematics.”

Teri Hatcher

Another Hollywood actress, Hatcher shot to fame in the nineties playing Lois Lane in ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’. She was a ‘Bond girl’ in Tomorrow Never Dies and then played Susan Mayer on the massively successful series Desperate Housewives. She has won numerous awards and was often voted Sexiest Woman In The World.

What most people don’t know however is that Hatcher studied mathematics and engineering at De Anza college in Cupertino, California before making it in Hollywood. Her father was a nuclear physicist and electrical engineer while her mother was a computer programmer so maybe it’s not so surprising.

Shaka Hislop

Another footballer, Hislop spent the majority of his football career as a goalkeeper for our very own Newcastle United during the golden years of Kevin Keegan’s management but he has also played for West Ham and Portsmouth.

However we bet the ‘Toon Army’ (a local term for Newcastle fans) don’t have a clue that he attended Washington's Howard University on a football scholarship and graduated with honours and a degree in mechanical engineering. Incredibly he also interned with NASA on their Space Station Freedom Project – must have been a world away from his later career on the pitch!

We hope this list helps open people’s eyes to the diverse type of people who love STEM and mathematics, often the people you would least expect. Share this with anyone who still thinks maths and STEM subjects are dull or uncool, the truth is they are rich, exciting – and very cool indeed.