Got a Girl Crush On: former child stars who put acting on hold for science & math
Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper in the television show The Wonder Years, and went onto write four non-fiction books: Math Doesn’t Suck, Kiss My Math, Hot X: Algebra Exposed and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape, which encourage middle-school and high-school girls to have confidence and succeed in math. Currently Danica hosts a fun mathy show on Nerdist’s YouTube channel called Math Bites!
Mayim Bialik will forever be known as sunflower-adorned quirky teen on the 90s tv show, Blossom (and now on the nerd-themed show, The Big Bang Theory). But in 2007 Bialik obtained her Ph.D. for her dissertation in an investigation of hypothalamic activity in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome.
Natalie Portman was only 13 when she first debuted in The Professional, and she shot Star Wars Episode I while still in high school. As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in scientific journals. Her 1998 high school paper, “A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar,” co-authored with scientists Ian Hurley and Jonathan Woodward, was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. In 2002, she contributed to a study on memory called “Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy” during her psychology studies at Harvard. But, being smart certainly doesn’t affect your sense of humor.