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Geek Stars From Atkinson to Zappa

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the brains-to-make-it-in-show-business dept.

Media 320

Ian Lamont writes "You probably remember reading about Brian May getting a PhD in Astrophysics, but may not know about the many other celebrities from the music, TV, and film worlds who have studied science and technology in college and grad school, or are simply serious gearheads who like gadgets, games, and other geek pastimes. Computerworld has identified about 50 celebrities who fit the bill, including Dan Grimaldi (Patsy Parisi, The Sopranos) who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in math, a master's in operations research and a Ph.D. in data processing; Rowan Atkinson, who has a master's in electrical engineering from Queen's College, Oxford; and Todd Rundgren, who developed an early paint program called Utopia. Other folks on the list: Dr. Demento, Montel Williams, Natalie Portman, Curt Schilling, and Huey Lewis."

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320 comments

God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125635)

God Smack Your Ass !!

Portman (4, Funny)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125651)

From the article:

Likewise, Natalie Portman -- beloved of geek fanboys worldwide since long before her Star Wars turns -- is an accomplished psychology student with two published papers under her belt, but psych isn't strictly a science or tech pursuit. (Waaahbulances will please park in the designated Comments section.)
Hot grits, etc.

Re:Portman (1)

Magnifique (1146937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125865)

Errr.. Phsycology?

Last time I saw her she was sharnig the bench with med-students for a year in Hadassa, the university hospital of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Defintley not phsycology but rather medicine.

Re:Portman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125973)

This story is also in dire need of a "naked+petrified" tag.

Yawn (3, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125663)

This isn't so much "geek stars" as it is an exhaustive list of "Everyone in Hollywood that isn't mechanically inept."

Many actors majored in some field of science rather than art, and didn't flunk. Robin Williams plays video games and likes gadgets. Real big geek cred...

Quite a waste of time.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125737)

Robin doesn't just enjoy video games, he named his daughter Zelda! How many of YOUR kids did you name after video game characters?

Or are you too geeky to mate?

dom

Re:Yawn (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126459)

Are you sure he didn't name her after Zelda Fitzgerald, the famous wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald?

Re:Yawn (2, Interesting)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126759)

Well I hate to use Wikipedia as a source, but there's lots of news articles that quote that she was named after Princess Zelda. Haven't found the actual quote from Robin, though...

Also in a movie of his, a toy used as a prop is a Production Model Evangelion toy from Robin Williams' personal collection. He's a geek.

Re:Yawn (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125743)

"Many actors majored in some field of science rather than art..."

Comic Guy voice: "I like to refer to these people as "closet geeks", their many faux friends call them "interesting"...pffft!"

Re:Yawn (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126091)

Actually what is interesting is that very few of the people on this list ever publicly talk about their education or interests. We live in an age when kids are losing interest in science in technology and chasing the celebrity dream of fame and fortune. Many of these people could be good roll models to encourage kids back into science, technology and engineering.

Also, Masi Oka has a double in Math and CS, and worked at ILM. I don't care what you say: Hiro Nakamura is a real geek. He still consults for ILM for Petes sake!

Re:Yawn (2, Funny)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126383)

Shut Up! I'm sixteen years old, and the more of these guys getting sucked into chasing fame the greater my chances are of getting into a top university. Quit Ruining The Plan!

encouraging kids back into science ... (2, Insightful)

ja (14684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126681)

You mean they could be good role models like in: "I couldn't get a proper job despite my academic education(s) but hey, who can complain when you get millions for jumping up and down like a monkey?"

Re:encouraging kids back into science ... (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126711)

No, he wrote roll models......as in 16 sided dice.

Re:Yawn (2, Interesting)

dido (9125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126251)

Apparently he's also a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and managed to get an Evangelion toy to appear in his movie One Hour Photo [imdb.com] .

Re:Yawn (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126361)

Yeah, there are plenty of far better examples out there. Dick Van Dyke is a keen computer graphics hobbyist for a start.

Wait, so Bill Nye is actually an engineer? (2)

talkingc (963431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125665)

Bill Nye the Engineering Guy doesn't seem to ring as well... I don't know why, but a part of my childhood feels like it was deceived. :P

Re:Wait, so Bill Nye is actually an engineer? (1)

ImTheDarkcyde (759406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126065)

I'm suprised he even made the list, though. "The Science Guy" kind of gave the whole "geek/nerd" thing away.

And why do I feel I'm the only one who finds those terms offensive? People running around calling themselves geeks and nerds, bleh, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm a person. I blog, I code, I play games, so now all of the sudden I have to suffer the insult of being called a geek, too?

Re:Wait, so Bill Nye is actually an engineer? (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126111)

Because back in high school you and I stood up for ourselves, then went on to make ridiculous amounts of money. Now the football player/cheerleader couple's spawn would be proud to be "geeky like us."

We're victims of our own success. Cue Dershowitz!

Hey Editor! (4, Funny)

pato101 (851725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125667)

Is mentioning Natalie Portman in a Slashdot story a good idea?

Re:Hey Editor! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125685)

Yes.

Re:Hey Editor! (0, Offtopic)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125693)

What's your address?

Re:Hey Editor! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125733)

127.0.0.1

Re:Hey Editor! (1, Offtopic)

Yeti.SSM (869826) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126159)

It's the reason the story got posted, methinks.

Terry Gilliam (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125671)

Good to see a Python represented. They were all brilliant, but I suppose they couldn't fit all 6 of them into their list of 50.

Psychology == Geek? (4, Insightful)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125675)

I was considering karma whoring and making a Natalie Portman joke early on in a discussion, almost guaranteeing a +5 Funny...

But I decided to actually read the story. According to the article, and also Wikipedia, shes a Psyc student, published a couple papers. Seriously, thats enough to make the geek list? Am I in a dillusioned world that of the thousands of "stars" out there, there aren't many with more geek cred than this?

Oh and I will karma whore... here's the link to the full article print link:

http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=printArticleBasic&articleId=9043739 [computerworld.com]

Re:Psychology == Geek? (2, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126043)

The fact that she knows 6+ languages qualifies as geeky in my book. That's an impressive intellectual accomplishment, no two ways about it.

Re:Psychology == Geek? (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126241)

Understanding R2-D2 and Wookiees doesn't count. So basically we're saying that any smart/accomplished person is now a 'geek'? Hmm :P

Re:Psychology == Geek? (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126477)

As multilingualism is the rule for the world (there are something like 85 times as many languages as countries), most of humanity grows up learning without complaint various languages besides that which that use in their family for religious use, trading with neighbours, dealing with government, etc. For some reason, people in a few First World countries think learning other languages is hard and only geeks can manage, but it's an unrealistic outlook.

Re:Psychology == Geek? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126105)

Yeah, psych is tough to twist into geek credibility. Sure she gets an GSS e++, but the d++$ r++ x+ are probably disqualifying to be considered a real geek. Though I do have to note that if there was a stw rating (like a t rating) she would qualify as stw++++$ which would certainly offset her other deficiencies. I'll also give her credit for a npg++++ if she would actually do that (and let me watch).

Re:Psychology == Geek? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126215)

Ah yes, so what couple of papers did you publish in the mean time? I think it's quite respectable. Furthermore, I am afraid that being able to perform logical thought is indeed already geeky at the moment, partly due to the big lobbies of people who want to press 'the word of god' as superior than 'reason'. Yes they do, look at the photos of the creationist museum in texas, you can find them on flickr.

Re:Psychology == Geek? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126289)

First, I think Portman goes quite some way as qualifying. There aren't *that* many people with finite Erdos-Bacon numbers for instance, and even fewer if you ignore people who were just in documentaries and such.

That said... you misread the article. Portman isn't on their list. She's on their list of almosts; those who people might think should be on the list, and reasons why they aren't. ;-)

Re:Psychology == Geek? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126465)

I always thought it should be the Vogelstein-Steiger number anyway as Bert Vogelstein is the most cited [evalu8.org] scientist and Rod Steiger is the most highly connected [oracleofbacon.org] actor in hollywood.

Whenever a Muslim opens his mouth, a lie comes out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126595)

"Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, denied in an interview last week with The Dallas Morning News that his country was trying to build a reactor.

"There is no Syrian nuclear program whatsoever," he said. "It's an absolutely blatant lie." "

Can you really trust anything that comes from the mouths of barbarians who support the execution of homosexuals and the gouging out of womens' clitorises under the guise of preserving their purity? These are also the same people who force rape victims out of their communities because the raped women have somehow brought shame upon their families. A friend of mine witnessed just such an action by villagers in Sudan. The poor girl was later found to have hung herself from a tree out of despair. Fucking barbarians, the lot of those Muslim pigs.

Re:Whenever a Muslim opens his mouth, a lie comes (0, Offtopic)

vbraga (228124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126779)

Yes, because, obviously Syria and Sudan are almost the same country. Those muslins people, the same everywhere!

From the little hut I live - I'm South American - I've heard in the big country to the north people are SO civilized! Money from government budget is not diverted into big corporations, their foreign police aims at the noblest principles from international law. At least, the guys that founded it said so. Don't know how they're today, news come quite slowly here: Tom didn't go the city this week to bring in the news, you know.

Oh, get out off the bubble, man! Muslim people are not the same, as the western civilization isn't. There was nice Muslims societies in history - some of them got nice intellectual wonders, such as Averrois philosophy - but today they're stuck on their dark ages, specially with the surge of wasabanism lately. Just bombing them doesn't work. Just saying "oh Lord, they're BAD!" doesn't too. Understand the problem, solve the problem.

And no, I don't understand it as a whole. I'm not even western, if you follow american definition of the western society - how could my opinion count by your standards ? But get the humility to say you doesn't understand it too and, if you care, go study it. If you don't have it, at least keep your mouth shut.

Should I be impressed? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125697)

It's kind of like when a baby makes big poopoo and mom & the grandfolk all cheer with elation.. but when I poo no one seems impressed.

Don't forget Britney Spears! (4, Funny)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125739)

Re:Don't forget Britney Spears! (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126037)

Thank you, I had forgotten about this gem though I could have used this last semester!

Re:Don't forget Britney Spears! (4, Funny)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126253)

That site saved me over and over and over again sophomore year in college. Knock Britney all you want for her alcoholism and poor parenting skills, but damn, she knows her semiconductor physics!

...and what about George Clinton? (2, Funny)

tpholland (968736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126767)

He apparently has a BA in Mathematics [xkcd.com] .

Mensa (4, Insightful)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125741)

What no mention of Asia Carrera? Mensa, gamer, pornstar

Re:Mensa (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126627)

Mensa,

If you were really smart you'd know that you can't prove it by getting into Mensa.

gamer,

Gamers aren't necessarily smart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEWIw-a0GJw [youtube.com]

pornstar

And pornstars are definitely not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Theroux's_Weird_Weekends#Porn [wikipedia.org]

From Asia's Bio... (4, Informative)

ConanG (699649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126691)

This comes directly from her bio: http://www.asiacarrera.com/bio.html [asiacarrera.com]

Geeky Academic Stuff - NJ spelling champ, National Mathematics League, Spanish National Honor Society, placed in National Geography, Language Arts, and Mathematics Olympiads.

Geeky Other Stuff - Played classical piano at Carnegie Hall at 13 & 14 (Ernesto Lecuona's 'Malaguena' and Bach's 13th Invention), taught Colloquial English at Tsuruga College in Japan at 16

Education - Attended performing arts high school (emphasis on instrumental music and visual arts), National Merit Scholarship Winner (for 1440 on SAT's), and Garden State Scholar (for nerdly grades). Attended Rutgers University on full academic scholarship, with a double-major in Business and Japanese.

blimey. (0)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125745)

Who'd of thought Rowan Atkinson has a Masters in Electrical Engineering?

The thought of Mr. Bean with a soldering iron makes me shudder. Yikes.

Also expert driver (2, Informative)

threaded (89367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125861)

Rowan Atkinson also holds higher levels of British Driving license allowing him to drive HGVs aka articulated trucks on the highways. I'm told he performs many of the car stunts in the shows himself.

Re:blimey. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126191)

That's probably because Mr Bean is one of Rowan Atkinson's worst characters ever and well below his normal level of quality with Edmund Blackadder.

Having seen the comedy he does in things like Blackadder then it doesn't surprise me that he's a bright guy. Interesting that it was Electrical Engineering, though.

Re:blimey. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126225)

Blackadder was good but I prefer his Not The Nine O'Clock News stuff. His sketch with 'Gerald the Gorilla' was insane.

Re:blimey. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126469)

I think I was too young for that. Blackadder has been repeated more on British TV since then, but I don't remember Not The Nine O'Clock News being repeated.

Re:blimey. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126493)

NTNOCN gets semi-regular repeats on the Paramount channel of all places I believe plus there's a best of DVD. It's good stuff - lots of well known UK comedians cut there teeth on it.

Re:blimey. (1)

prewashedironman (605517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126373)

I remember going around the university which he got his bachelors from. It seemed to be one of their big selling points that he had been there - needless to say I decided I decided to go somewhere that wasn't trying to sell itself on someone who had nothing to do with EE!

Re:blimey. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126429)

Actually, it is only a Bachelors. The University of Oxford "upgrades" all B.A.s to M.A.'s a year after graduation.
In Engineering (or actually, Engineering Science as they call it here), there is the M.Eng for undergraduate masters and for the few postgraduate masters courses, they are normally called M.Sc or M.Phil.
So don't be fooled when you hear of Oxford or Cambridge graduates with Masters, it is a big con!

P.S. How fitting that the captcha is ensnared...

Re:blimey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126683)

So don't be fooled when you hear of Oxford or Cambridge graduates with Masters, it is a big con!
Dead right (actually, at Cambridge you have to stay alive for 3 years, but still...)

(anon. coward - M.A.* Cantab in Computer Science, 1989)

* so yeah, Knuth was right.

Please (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125767)

Please show me the ones with PhD's. The rest are just BLOGGERS.

And your favorites who didn't make the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21125775)

Greg Graffin, frontman for Bad Religion, Ph.D Zoology.

Zappa on music (5, Interesting)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125777)

In his book "The Real Frank Zappa" [amazon.com] released in 1989 Zappa explains his plan for the future of music distribution. He says that consumers arn't that interested in CDs or vinyl and explains how you could use the cable tv or telephone system to digitally transmit music (and cover art, etc) into peoples homes on a subscription basis. This was back in 1989, long before your interweb thing took off.

What about Jonathan Miller... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126155)

The Academic's Academic.....top doctor, theatrical impressario, TV personality, actor, comedian.........

Mind you, all the Brit Footlights comics are academic - they all come from Cambridge...

Irony... (1)

nsebban (513339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126331)

How wrong he was ! Look, in 2007, most major still push the CD as the main way to sell music. Some even try to sell vinyls again. This Zappa guy was so damn wrong about what the consummer wants ! Oh wait...

Re:Zappa on music (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126425)

That's a good book! Zappa never finished high school. Based on what the book had to say, I'd guess that FZ got his scientific curiosity from his father, who helped develop chemical weapons for the military. FZ's eccentricity is no surprise, given his childhood fascination with Mercury ;)

Psych papers (2, Funny)

Orthuberra (1145497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125785)

Likewise, Natalie Portman -- beloved of geek fanboys worldwide since long before her Star Wars turns -- is an accomplished psychology student with two published papers under her belt, but psych isn't strictly a science or tech pursuit. (Waaahbulances will please park in the designated Comments section.)
One of those papers is on the beneficial psychological effects of her pouring hot grits down a Slashdotter's pants.

Linkage? (3, Funny)

threaded (89367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125891)

Where's the link? You can't make a statement like that and not give us a link: it leaves us all frozen and petrified.

The list is fine, but also... (1)

Edgyboy (1157885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125811)

... lets not forget Keanu Reeves.

Re:The list is fine, but also... (2, Insightful)

splutty (43475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125993)

Uhm... Not to be a total bitch. But is there any actual reason why we would *not* want to totally forget about Keanu 'Rigor Mortis Is Acting, Really!' Reeves?

I mean, in my admittedly not so humble opinion, he's about the most overrated semi-actor I know. His only good 'performance' was as Johnny Mnemonic, and that pretty much only because he had to play himself.

Re:The list is fine, but also... (1)

Edgyboy (1157885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126271)

True, but have you considered this little-known biographical fact about Keanu: In high school, Reeves was lukewarm toward academics but took a keen interest in ice hockey (as team goalie, he earned the nickname "The Wall") http://imdb.com/name/nm0000206/bio [imdb.com]
This alone has to count at least like a PhD, right?

Re:The list is fine, but also... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126273)

He does, however, know Kung Fu.

Um, Dr. Demento *not* on the list (3, Interesting)

drphil (320469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125823)

Do the submitters actually RTFA? Dr. Demento's name was dropped in trying to put context around Prof. Tom Lehrer (not sure why you need to see Dr. D's name to understand who Lehrer is). BTW I think Dr. Demento has only a masters degree and was an A&R guy at one time - one of the least geeky jobs ever.

Re:Um, Dr. Demento *not* on the list (3, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126797)

You are correct sir. I have an three original Lehrer records on vinyl that my dad gave me in 78, i was 8 years old. Harvard professor, political satirist, pianist.

http://members.aol.com/quentncree/lehrer/

Check the above for his lyrics.

puto

Thomas Dolby spoke at the Be Developer's Conf. (5, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125959)

He and I were both BeOS developers back in the day.

His real last name isn't Dolby, it's Robertson [wikipedia.org] .

When he spoke at the BDC, it was about his high-tech startup [wikipedia.org] , which developed a new audio format.

He got sued by the Dolby corporation; according to Wikipedia, the settlement allows him to use their trademark only when in the context of "Thomas ".

Re:Thomas Dolby spoke at the Be Developer's Conf. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126263)

Yeah, but I'd be constantly confusing him with Tom Robinson if he hadn't used a made-up surname.

It took long enough to keep Andy Bell from Erasure and Andy Bell from Ride seperate.

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21125971)

I for one welcome our attention-whoring inte....oh god I just can't be arsed today.

karma--;

Dr. Demento's Thesis (2, Informative)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126069)

Here at Reed College (Dr. Demento's alma mater), finding Dr. Demento's senior thesis in the Thesis Tower is a common scavenger hunt item. While the topic (the operas Wozzeck and Pelleas et Melisande) isn't traditionally nerdy, no one can get through Reed without being a little bit geeky.

Erdos-Bacon number (5, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126099)

I can't let this go past without bringing up Erdos-Bacon numbers. [wikipedia.org]

Natalie Portman has one of the better scores (Erdos 5 + Bacon 2 = 7). She did not (so far as I know) use her fame in her primary field (acting) to get preferential treatment in the other (science/maths.) There are scientists with a lower total, but I think they've all got an acting part on strength of their science fame (e.g. Stephen Hawking.)

According to Wikipedia, a few people have lower Erdos-Bacon numbers which appear to be 'clean', but I haven't heard of them before: Kiralee Hayashi (3+3), Danica McKellar (4+2), Barney Pell (3+2), John Platt (3+3), Karl Schaffer (3+2), Brian Wandell (3+2), Wendelin Werner (3+3).

Re:Erdos-Bacon number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126537)

I'm really wondering what acting parts Stephen Hawking has had. Wasn't there some risk of him being typecast?

Steps aside to avoid lightning bolt

Not to be a bore, but.. (3, Insightful)

Ztream (584474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126113)

isn't this just a list of famous people who also have an academic degree? That's hardly synonymous with "geek" for me..

Re:Not to be a bore, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126213)

I think at least some of them deserve a little more credit than that. Masi Oka and Brian May certainly do, and we already know about Wil Wheaton of course.

A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (2, Funny)

Fross (83754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126117)

How does that work?

"e^i*pi = -1. How does that make you feel?"

"Pythagoras' Theorem is a^2 + b^2 = c^2. What do you think he was trying to convey by that?"

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (1)

jackhererUK (992339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126147)

Yeah, i have never heard of anywhere offering a BA in maths, surely it would be a BSc?

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (1)

JuanCarlosII (1086993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126497)

My Maths degree would have been a BA if I hadn't carried on and turned it into a Masters, and that was Oxford. Generally OU offers BAs for just about everything.

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126283)

How does that work?

Quoth Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which altered during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".

The "Bachelor of Science" (BSc) is a relatively recent invention by modern universities. "Modern" in this context means "Not already 600 years old when those Romantic trendies re-wrote the dictionary". Certainly the University of Oxford (est. 1069 give or take a few decades) doesn't have any truck with this sort of newspeak and awards BA for everything.

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (1)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126295)

Question: If a train leaves Boston with an average speed of 50mph at the same time as a train leaves New York with an average speed of 60mph, assuming the distance between New York and Boston is 100 miles, what train would you rather be traveling on and why?

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (2, Funny)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126467)

Error: insufficient data. Please provide destinations for both trains.

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (3, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126549)

The trains are on the same track. An insect is flying back-and-forth between the two trains. When the trains collide, how will the insect feel? How will the train drivers feel? What about their families? Write an extended television news article ignoring the relative safety of rail travel. Give suitably twisted statistics where appropriate. Extra credit will be gained for interviewing survivors and asking them inappropriate questions live on national television.

Part 2, law: outline a case for suing
a) The driver of the first train,
b) The manager of the railway company,
c) A contractor working on the signalling system,
d) A passer by,
e) Your grandmother,
f) The insect.
Show how you would win each case.

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (2, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126345)

If you go to a liberal arts school, perhaps. The school I went to, Lawrence University, offers only BA degrees (well, also a B. Music for those who are in the conservatory), no matter what you study. I assure you that the math curriculum involves no asking how it makes you feel, and is good, solid, old-fashioned math. ;)

But then that removes the distinction (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126571)

Surely the difference between a BA and BSc is in the approach of study - and some subjects are approachable from many angles. While I'd not expect a BA in Engineering, other cutting-edge science could be - I'd expect a BSc in genetics or nanotech to be versed in the technical application thereof, while a BA could be more on the ethics, real-world scenarios and so forth. Both would be strongly versed in theory, of course.

But yeah, I would expect a BA in Maths to be about as useful as a BSc in art - while a fascinating idea, I wouldn't get such a person to design me something :)

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126455)

Some Universities just like to crap up perfectly good degrees. It wasn't quite going to end up as a BA, because we'd already started it, but when the University of Manchester 'took over' UMIST (they said it was a merger) then the UMIST Computation department became Informatics in the Faculty of Humanities.

Quite how you could be taken seriously with a BSc Computing Science from the Faculty of Humanities I don't know - luckily I got an old-style certificate as well.

So, in summary, Universities do stupid things with degrees ;)

Re:A Bachelor of *arts* in Mathematics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126463)

Currently, you pursue a bachelor of science in mathematics if
you intend to *DO* math; i.e., continue upwards into analysis
or use math in a computer, physics, or chemical engineering field.

You pursue a bachelor of arts in mathematics if you intend
to *TEACH* math.

I have a BA in Physics from UC Santa Cruz (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126487)

at the time that's the only option the physics department offered undergrads. I'm rather proud of it actually - I think I got a better education at "Uncle Charlie's Summer Camp" than I did during my first two years at Caltech; for example I took classes in painting and drawing.

At the time, they didn't give grades. Instead, instructors wrote a short "narrative evaluation" about their students' performance.

However, I understand that they've given into economic pressures, so that now both grades and BS degrees are offered.

Gary Numan (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126243)

Wrote his own website and flies aerobatic stunts at airshows - does that count?

Obvious Missing Entries (4, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126259)

There's Elvis Costello - former computer programmer who chucked it all for Rock 'N Roll...
(He kept the geek look but lost the career!)

Peter Gabriel is quite the computer nerd...

Joe Walsh of the Eagles - he's got a Ham Radio license...

And Jeff Foxworthy used to work for IBM, but I'm not sure how nerdy he was.

BFD (0, Flamebait)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126285)

Who cares about 'stars' anyway? Good for them that they have a degree or degrees. Why must society keep patting these entertainers on the back? I paid my $9.50 to see the movie, shut up and entertain me I don't give a shit about your background.

Re:BFD (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126339)

Um ... you DO realize they're called stars for a reason, right? Maybe YOU don't care about them, but clearly SOMEBODY does.

Re: Geek Stars From Atkinson to Zappa (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126301)

There sure isn't a Slashdot editor on that list.

Congratulations to your 10th anniversary Slashdot. I sure miss the pre-Politics and FUD-free times.

Reverse music/tech link: Schildt (no, really) (1)

scottsk (781208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126403)

Don't forget Herb Schildt was in the progressive rock band Starcastle before turning to the word processor and churning out an almost infinite stream of books on MS-DOS and C, and later C++. I think he may still be around today, but he was big in the 90s as sort of the paragon/punching-bag of bad technical writing.

Re:Reverse music/tech link: Schildt (no, really) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126441)

Schildt should have stuck to music. His books on C & C++ are truly the paragon of awful and dangerously wrong. He even has his own term to describe it: "Bullschildt".

An opera star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126439)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabel_Bayrakdarian [wikipedia.org]

Isabel Bayrakdarian is an excellent opera star and also a graduate engineer. She graduated and did some coop terms while she was in school but afaict she hasn't practiced. Even so, she doesn't feel that her engineering training was a waste. The mental training it gave her makes it much easier to prepare for her opera roles.

Zappa geek trivia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126443)

Intel made a motherboard namned after him. It was a Pentium 90MHz board that really rocked at the time.

Patrick Moore (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126535)

The thread would not be complete without a nod to the British astronomer Patrick Moore [wikipedia.org] . Here in the UK, he has been presenting The Sky at Night [wikipedia.org] for oer 50 years now, which is an oasis of geekdom in an increasingly dumbed-down BBC schedule.

here's what i think.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126565)

bob looked ravenously at the fat young girl sitting on his bed. she was barely legal, and he just had to have her. her moist, chubby pussy lips glistened in the harsh light of his halogen lamp.

'have you ever fucked a man old enough to be your dad?' bob asked.

'no but there's a first time for everything!' Suzie giggled.

he nearly drooled as he grabbed one of her natural H cup tits and squeezed gently. her pancake-sized areolas started to swell with excitement.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE....

hedy lamarr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126591)

"beauty queen Hedy Lamarr (Ecstasy, Samson and Delilah) owns us all for her pioneering work on spread spectrum technology, which makes both Ethernet and your cell phone tick."

more details here.

http://www.inventions.org/culture/female/lamarr.html [inventions.org]

CleverNickName (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21126707)

Looks like CleverNickName made the front page... that has to count for something...

Brian May (2, Interesting)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21126709)

Brian May *doesn't* have a PhD. He has submitted his thesis, but hasn't been awarded it yet. Get your facts right.
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