Natalie Portman, Scientist

Sunday evening, I wrote about one of the Oscar hosts, James Franco, making fun of the winners of the science Oscars (“congratulations, nerds”) after a brief clip of the ceremony was shown. The science Oscars are not deemed worthy of being presented during the main ceremony and are handed out at a separate luncheon.

Well, it turns out that the eventual Best Actress winner, Natalie Portman, could very well have been a science award winner. She was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search, a group that has produced seven Nobel Prize winners.

Composite image from “chipchick.com”

About Ms. Portman:
“I’ve taught at Harvard, Dartmouth and Vassar, and I’ve had the privilege of teaching a lot of very bright kids,” said Abigail A. Baird, who was one of Ms. Portman’s mentors at Harvard. “There are very few who are as inherently bright as Natalie is, who have as much intellectual horsepower, who work as hard as she did. She didn’t take a single thing for granted.”

Turns out she isn’t the only one:

  • Danica McKellar (“Winnie,” The Wonder Years)
  • Mayim Bialik (“Amy Farrah Fowler,” The Big Bang Theory)
  • Hedy (for Bryan Busby: “that’s Hedy”) Lamarr, was literally a rocket scientist. According to the NY Times, invent[ed] and patent[ed] a torpedo guidance technique she called “frequency hopping,” which thwarted efforts to jam the signals that kept the missiles on track.”

Science is cool! Learning science expands your mind and opens all types of opportunities whether you become a scientist or not.

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