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-   -   Physicists famous for not-physics (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=220473)

flamenco Mar7-08 02:45 PM

physicists famous for not-physics
 
Hi, guys,

Just found out that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a trained physicist. Made me remember that the Bengali film director Satyajit Ray was also one. Which makes me think there are probably hundreds of physicists out there who made their names in some other field. Physicist-Novelist? Physicist-Cold war spy? Physicist-NBA star?

However 30 minutes with a search engine = zero return. So maybe this is the right place to pose the question: can you name someone with a physics degree who became famous for something else?

Operative word here is "famous," as I'm sure there are just as many obscure physicists laboring in non-physics. And the more distant the area from physics/science/math, the more interesting to me.

If anyone can point me to a website covering this topic, it'd save me the trouble of creating one.

Asphodel Mar7-08 02:49 PM

Brian May has a Ph.D. in astrophysics...

Vid Mar7-08 02:52 PM

Bryan May quit his astrophysics doctorate when Queen got successful. He actually went back finished it last year.


EDIT: Bah, too late.

Kurdt Mar7-08 02:59 PM

Stephen Fry has a degree in physics.

EDIT: That could be a load of rubbish but I'm sure I heard he had one on a talk show some years back. i'll try and find out for sure. :rofl:

robphy Mar7-08 03:35 PM

Here's one:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0788167/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naren_Shankar
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/...us.CSI.lm.html

See also:
http://physics.ramapo.edu/~phil/phys...icists_do.html
which says (among other things) Jimmy Carter has a BS in physics.

For not-so-famous physicists, there is the "Hidden Physicists" column in "Radiations"
http://www.spsnational.org/radiations/ [not sure if you can see that column online].

Hydrargyrum Mar7-08 05:07 PM

Joseph Lagrange
Carl Gauss
Leonhard Euler


All are famous for their impact in math

Gokul43201 Mar7-08 05:25 PM

Quote:

Quote by Kurdt (Post 1639120)
Stephen Fry has a degree in physics.

No way. Fry is quite a dunce when it comes to science. The level of difficulty for the science questions on QI is astonishingly low.

Kurdt Mar7-08 05:31 PM

Quote:

Quote by Gokul43201 (Post 1639287)
No way. Fry is quite a dunce when it comes to science. The level of difficulty for the science questions on QI is astonishingly low.

Yes sorry about that. His father was apparently a physicist and thats where the confusion probably occurred. For some reason I was under the impression he did a second degree in physics in the late eighties and I was damned sure I'd heard him talking about it on a chat show about 5-10 years ago. Oh well.

*puts on dunce cap and sits in the corner*

Poop-Loops Mar7-08 06:19 PM

Quote:

Quote by Hydrargyrum (Post 1639258)
Joseph Lagrange
Carl Gauss
Leonhard Euler


All are famous for their impact in math

Nice try, but that would be like calling the guy who invented MRI a medical doctor because everybody uses them these days.

Moreover, they certainly are well-known for their impact on physics.

George Jones Mar7-08 06:40 PM

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1346803712/tt0077089

f95toli Mar7-08 07:12 PM

There are -perhaps not surprisingly- quite a few well-known sci-fi writers that also happen to be physicists: Gregory Benford and Alastair Reynolds are two examples (and both are ,as far as I know, still working as physicists)

George Jones Mar7-08 07:24 PM

Quote:

Quote by f95toli (Post 1639382)
Gregory Benford

Coincidentally, earlier today I chatted with a colleague about Benford's novels; I think I've read three.

Also, Solzhenitsyn.

Helical Mar7-08 09:18 PM

Isaac Asimov comes to mind, though he did not just write fiction.

Asphodel Mar7-08 09:53 PM

Quote:

Quote by Helical (Post 1639509)
Isaac Asimov comes to mind, though he did not just write fiction.

I'm pretty sure Asimov was a Biochemist?

Helical Mar8-08 01:40 AM

You're right of course...I guess I was thinking of his Understanding Physics textbooks.

But yeah I guess he doesn't apply. :P

Helical Mar8-08 01:42 AM

Double post, forum lagged.

Schrodinger's Dog Mar8-08 03:33 AM

René Descartes (Cartesian co-ordinates were invented by him) was a mathematician as well as a philosopher. As was Bertrand Russel.

fuzzyfelt Mar8-08 04:10 AM

The famous theologist, Pascal?


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