by Amy Barlow
Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. Hate them because they’re beautiful and smart. Such is the burden of the actor/rock star/scholar, of which there are only a handful. On this rainy day, let’s resist the urge to think about embedded librarianship and learning assessment, to instead contemplate the all-important matter of researchers on the red carpet.
You are probably familiar with the academic achievements of Mayim Bialik (“Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory”) and Danica McKellar (“The Wonder Years”) in the fields of and neuroscience and mathematics, respectively. Who isn’t? But have you read Colin Firth’s co-authored Current Biology paper, “Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults”? According to the BBC, Firth “commissioned” the research during a stint as a guest editor of Radio 4’s Today program.
The actress and Harvard graduate, Natalie Hershlag (Portman), presumably played a more critical role in the publication of a 2002 NeuroImage article with her name on it. And John Krasinski, of “The Office”, deserves full credit for writing his senior thesis, Contents Under Pressure, which is available for your reading pleasure at Brown University.
Of course, the distinction as the original movie star/scholar belongs to the exquisitely beautiful, Hedy Lamarr, who’s recognized for her contributions toward the development of spectrum radio technology. In 1941, she co-patented a torpedo guidance invention, calling it a Secret Communication System and filing under her married name: Hedy Keisler Markey. Her other inventions included a bouillon cube, a flourescent collar for dogs, and alterations to the Concorde . Lamarr did not enjoy Hollywood parties, drinking, or loud noise. Without these distractions, she found unlimited time for research between film projects. For those of you interested in learning more about the life of this beautiful, smart woman, pick-up a copy of Richard Rhodes’ biography, Hedy’s Folly.