Actors and Actresses Who Are Also Scientists

No, they are not actors and actresses who are essaying their roles as scientists in the movies or television shows (except one, who is a neuroscientist in reel and real life!).

Meet the stars who are also real-life “brainiacs.” These super-smart people have finished their education with science-related degrees, taken careers in science and medicine, or made significant strides in this field. You might be surprised seeing some of the names here!

1) Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow in front of a mic

Lisa Kudrow earned fame for her role as a ditzy blonde Phoebe on the hit NBC sitcom Friends (1994 – 2004). 

But Kudrow is actually the opposite of her Friends character because she is one smart gal in real life! She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Vassar College. Kudrow originally intended to become an expert on headaches like her father, a well-established neurologist. Before she broke into acting, Kudrow worked on her father’s staff for eight years working on research involving migraines and cluster headaches.

2) Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman in purple dress and holding an Oscar trophy

Natalie Portman is an Oscar and Golden Globe award-winning actress known for her appearances in Star Wars I – The Phantom Menace, V for Vendetta, Thor, Annihilation, and Black Swan (for which she won an Oscar).

Born Natalie Herschlag in Jerusalem, Israel, Portman earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Harvard University in 2003. While still studying, she co-authored two scientific papers, one of them a study called “Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy.”

3) Ken Jeong

Ken Jeong speaking at Wondercon 2012 in California, 2012

Actor, producer, and stand-up comedian Ken Jeong has appeared in several films, such as Crazy Rich Asians, Furry Vengeance, Ride Along 2, and The Hangover film series, probably his most famous work.

Jeong is also a licensed physician. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in zoology at Duke University in North Carolina. Then he went on to pursue his M.D., which he eventually received at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1995.

4) Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik being interviewed

Actress Mayim Biyalik has been in showbusiness since her early career as a child actress. Her television and movie credits include The Flight Before Christmas, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Kalamazoo? One of her latest TV appearances is her guest-host stint on the popular quiz show Jeopardy!, which was generally well received.

But Bialik’s most famous role is the neuroscientist Amy Fowler on the hit CBS sitcom Big Bang Theory. She seems at home with her character because she’s a neuroscientist in real life! She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience at the UCLA in 2000 and her Ph.D. in neuroscience in the same university in 2007.

5) Rowan Atkinson

cropped picture of Rowan Atkinson

During the 1990s, the goofy Mr. Bean won the hearts of televiewers, first in his home country United Kingdom and then overseas. Of course, fans already know Rowan Atkinson, who played the iconic comic character. Apart from Mr. Bean, Atkinson’s other TV and movie credits include Blackadder, Love Actually, Bean, and Johnny English film series. 

The actor-comedian graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He continued his studies in Electrical Engineering at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, where he received his Master of Science (MSc) degree. So, the next time you watch Mr. Bean, remind yourself that Atkinson is not as silly as he looks on the telly.