Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chemists who do other things

At Just Like Cooking, See Arr Oh pointed out John Kuhn, an NFL player with a chemistry degree and some internships under his belt.

Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV.
Source: Wikipedia.
What other prominent folks have had chemistry degrees?

Actor and martial artist Dolph Lundgren, of Rocky IV fame, has both a bachelor's and master's degree in chemical engineering. Frank Capra, director of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", had a chemical engineering degree as well. Ally Walker, who starred in the 1990s drama Profiler, originally intended to be a scientist or doctor and holds a biochemistry degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Iron Man co-star Terrence Howard at one point wanted to be a science teacher and was reportedly three credits short of a chemistry degree.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Source: Wikipedia.
Several political leaders have chemistry degrees. Margaret Thatcher is one example, as she studied X-ray crystallography and worked briefly as a research chemist (however, she clashed with the Royal Society and is not remembered fondly by many British scientists). Germany's Chancellor is Angela Merkel, who has a doctorate in physical chemistry. In the United States, John M. Deutch is a physical chemist who held prominent political positions in the Clinton Administration, including being the Director of Central Intelligence. Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, developed the ABE (acetone-butanol-ethanol) process to produce the three chemicals by fermentation of starch. Additionally, Ignacy Mościcki was a physical chemistry professor who was a president of Poland.

Russian composer Borodin.
Source: Wikipedia.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a couple musicians. Alexander Borodin, the famed Romantic composer, was also a surgeon and a professor of chemistry. Borodin worked for Erlenmeyer and discovered the aldol contemporaneously to Wurtz (n.b. the timing of this is disputed). Bill Lipscomb was a 1976 Nobel Laureate and an avid clarinetist who befriended jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. And Edward Elgar, the English composer of Pomp and Circumstance and Enigma Variations, was an avid amateur chemist who invented an apparatus for production of hydrogen sulfide.

Lastly, Drew, the author of webcomics Married to the Sea and Toothpaste for Dinner, writer of the hilarious blog The Worst Things for Sale, musician behind Crudbump and Kompressor, and novelist behind Veins, is a former industrial chemist.