Physicists famous for not-physics

  1. 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.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Brian May has a Ph.D. in astrophysics...
     
  4. Bryan May quit his astrophysics doctorate when Queen got successful. He actually went back finished it last year.


    EDIT: Bah, too late.
     
  5. Kurdt

    Kurdt 4,941
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    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:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
  6. robphy

    robphy 4,424
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  7. Joseph Lagrange
    Carl Gauss
    Leonhard Euler


    All are famous for their impact in math
     
  8. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
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    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.
     
  9. Kurdt

    Kurdt 4,941
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    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*
     
  10. 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.
     
  11. George Jones

    George Jones 6,419
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  12. f95toli

    f95toli 2,418
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    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)
     
  13. George Jones

    George Jones 6,419
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    Coincidentally, earlier today I chatted with a colleague about Benford's novels; I think I've read three.

    Also, Solzhenitsyn.
     
  14. Isaac Asimov comes to mind, though he did not just write fiction.
     
  15. I'm pretty sure Asimov was a Biochemist?
     
  16. You're right of course...I guess I was thinking of his Understanding Physics textbooks.

    But yeah I guess he doesn't apply. :P
     
  17. Double post, forum lagged.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  18. René Descartes (Cartesian co-ordinates were invented by him) was a mathematician as well as a philosopher. As was Bertrand Russel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  19. fuzzyfelt

    fuzzyfelt 743
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    The famous theologist, Pascal?
     
  20. Famous theologist, Darwin, studied theology at Cambridge with a view to becoming a clergyman.
     
  21. robphy

    robphy 4,424
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