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All of these famous people studied Maths as part of a Degree (or equivalent in their country).

Reed Hastings – Co-founder of Netflix

Reed Hastings completed a Batchelor’s Degree in Mathematics, followed by a Masters Degree in Computer Science.  In 2019 he had a net worth of over $3billion.

Virginia Wade – Wimbledon champion

Virginia Wade studied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Sussex.  She won three Grand Slam titles including winning Wimbledon in 1977, and is one of the UK’s most famous tennis players.

Brian May – Guitarist and co-founder of Queen

Brian May is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.  He studied Mathematics and Physics at Imperial College London and in 2007 he completed his PhD in astrophysics.  He even has an asteroid named after him called ‘52665 Brianmay’.

Teri Hatcher – American Actress

Teri Hatcher is known for playing Lois Lane in the New Adventures of Superman and for appearing in Desperate Housewives. She also majored in Mathematics and engineering at college.

Glen Johnson – ex Professional Footballer

At the height of his career Glen Johnson was signed by Liverpool for an alleged £10 million.  In 2012 the press reported that he was studying for a Mathematics Degree with the Open University while still playing professionally.

Karen Bradley – Member of Parliament

Karen Bradley has a BSc in Mathematics from Imperial College London. She became the MP for Staffordshire Moorlands in 2010 after a career in tax and finance, and she is one of several MPs who have studied Mathematics at university.

Sergey Brin – Co-founder of Google

Internet entrepreneur Sergey Brin co-founded Google and is president of Alphabet Inc. which is the parent company of Google. He has a Batchelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science as well as a PhD in Computer Science.

John Urschel – American Footballer

John Urschel was a professional American footballer who started his PhD in mathematics while still playing.  Urschel has published several peer reviewed mathematics research papers and has written a book ‘Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football’.

Jonny Buckland – Lead guitarist Coldplay

Jonny Buckland formed the hugely successful rock band Coldplay while studying Astronomy and Mathematics at University College London.

Rachel Riley – Countdown presenter

Rachel Riley started presenting Countdown in 2009 after completing her Mathematics Degree at the University of Oxford. She has also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing.

Lee Hsien Loong – Prime Minister of Singapore

Lee Hsien Loong studied Mathematics at Trinity College Cambridge, and in 1973 he graduated as ‘Senior Wrangler’ meaning that he scored the top mark in his year group at Cambridge.  He first became Prime Minister of Singapore in 2004.

Dara Ó Briain– TV Presenter and Comedian

Dara Ó Briain is an Irish comedian who is well known for his stand up comedy and appearances on shows such as Mock the Week.  He studied Mathematical Physics from University College Dublin and his love of maths and science has led to him presenting shows such as Dara Ó Briain, School of Hard Sums.


Bram Stoker – Author of Dracula – Did he really do a maths degree?

Bram Stoker is a 19th Century novelist who is most famous for writing Dracula. Stoker claimed in a memoir to have completed a degree in Mathematics at Trinity College, Dublin, and yet no record of this can be found.  Experts are unable to explain why Bram Stoker made this claim.

Christopher Wren – Architect of St Paul’s Cathedral

Christopher Wren is one of the most accomplished architects of all time, responsible for designing buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.  He studied Mathematics as part of his time at the University of Oxford and in 1657 became a professor of astronomy.

Fictional but Famous

Professor Moriarty – Sherlock Holmes

Professor Moriarty was a fictional criminal mastermind and the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes talking about Moriarty in the Adventure of the Final Problem:

“His career has been an extraordinary one. He is a man of good birth and excellent education, endowed by nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the Binomial Theorem, which has had a European vogue. On the strength of it he won the Mathematical Chair at one of our smaller universities, and had, to all appearance, a most brilliant career before him.”

Featured Image “Audi Berlinale 2015” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by AudiAG

Article by Hazel Lewis