3. Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Slaugtherhouse-Five is good. Really good. But how many of you would have guessed that in 1940, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – the world-famous author – majored in chemistry at Cornell University, NY?

2. Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren

In 1982 Hans “Dolph” Lundgren graduated with a M.Sc. in chemical engineering, top of his class at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). This earned him the Fulbright Scholarship at MIT – the mother of all graduate awards. Not less than 43 recipients of this scholarship have later received Nobel Prizes and 78 have taken home Pulitzer Prizes. Two weeks into it, however, Dolph decided to drop out and take up acting instead. We remember his as He-Man in Masters of the Universe (1987) and as Rocky’s antagonist Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985). Oh yeah, he has a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin karate too.

1. Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

The Iron Lady, also known to her close friends as The Right Honourable Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979-1990), among a couple of other things, actually has a degree in chemistry – a four-year B.Sc. (Hons) in crystallography from Oxford University. Moreover and curiously, in 1953 young Maggie was part of the research team at BX Plastics that found a superior method to manufacture soft ice cream at an industrial scale. Impressive résumé!

P.S. Honorable mention: Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany, holds a Ph.D. in quantum chemistry.


2 Responses to Three improbable chemists

  1. Zee Germans says:

    And Angela has a JACS first author paper
    DOI: 10.1021/ja00233a012

  2. Tynchtyk says:

    wow! the corresponding author of that paper is a current director of our institute 🙂

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