10 Celebrities Who Light Up the World With Their Intelligence

Whether they’re actors or musicians, celebrities seem to have plenty of beauty and talent. Still, many of them have something else: a gifted brain, sometimes so brilliant that it has enabled them to achieve excellence in unexpected areas of science, academics, and business. And by doing so, they’ve also broken some stereotypes of what we think celebrities should be like in real life.

Bright Side will introduce you to some stars that not only shine for their fame, but also for their intelligence.

1. Queen’s guitarist is an outstanding astrophysicist.

Brian May is famous for providing the band led by Freddie Mercury with harmonious guitar melodies, but he’s not just a rock star. May also enjoys doing research about stars, or at least certain types of celestial bodies. He holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and has cooperated with NASA’s New Horizons mission on their investigations regarding the planetoid or “dwarf planet” Pluto.

2. James Woods has one of the highest IQs in the world.

This American actor who has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards and who has won 3 Emmys, can boast about his long career in film and television. From big-screen classics like Once Upon a Time in America, to giving a voice to Hades’ in Disney’s Hercules, he’s a real star. But apart from that, Woods has one of the highest Intellectual Coefficients. It’s estimated that he holds an IQ of 180, which put him among the 10 most intelligent people on the planet in 2013, next to great minds like Stephen Hawking and chess master Garri Kasparov.

3. Ken Jeong is a certified doctor.

From cult shows like Community to big blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians, one could say that this man has had a very diverse path toward stardom. But even if he doesn’t stay there forever, he can always support himself through his career in medicine. He has even practiced his medical skills whenever they were needed, like the time when he delivered emergency care for a woman who suffered an attack at a club where he was performing and assisted her while the paramedics were on their way.

4. Lisa Kudrow did research about headaches.

For Friends fans, she will always be Phoebe Buffay, but those with a deep interest in the world of science, know that they can find her in the credits of another type of work. Apart from having earned a degree in Biology, she was part of a study regarding migraines and other types of headaches. Because of this, her name is still a reference on the NCBI website (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

5. Comedian Conan O’Brien was an overachieving student at Harvard.

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious schools in the world, to the point that the mere mention of it evokes total academic excellence. And very few have achieved the same distinction as the comedian and late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien. He earned a degree in English Literature from this remarkable institution, and was given it with Magna Cum Laude, or “with great distinction” for his outstanding qualifications during his studies.

6. Mayim Bialik is a brilliant mind on and off camera.

The actress plays Amy Farrah Fowler in the comedy show The Big Bang Theory, a scientist who specializes in Neurology, so this is one of those times in which art imitates real life. Despite having been in front of the camera since she was a child (in the show Blossom), Bialik graduated from UCLA with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and also did some research in Jewish and Hebrew studies.

7. James Franco is a longtime student.

He’s an actor, movie director, and star of the Spiderman saga next to Tobey Maguire. His performance in the film The Disaster Artist even won him a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical comedy. But apart from Hollywood, he has transformed collecting titles and walking through prestigious universities into a hobby: He graduated from UCLA (where he also teaches Scriptwriting), enrolled in Cinematography at NYU (New York University), attended Columbia University and Brooklyn College for fiction prose, and also to went Yale to study comparative literature.

8. Dolph Lundgren is as smart as he is strong.

The Swedish actor is famous for his tough and rough-type roles, from Ivan Drago in the boxing saga, Rocky, to King Nereus in Aquaman. But not only does he have strong muscles, he also a strong brain: Lundgren has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, and shortly after earning it, he obtained his master’s degree from the University of Sydney, in Australia. And he was also awarded a scholarship to study at the prestigious MIT: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

9. Natalie Portman can speak 6 languages.

The Oscar-winning actress from Black Swan has a strong presence on the big screen. And if one day you met her and would like to compliment her, it’s very likely that she’ll understand what you say: The actress is fluent in Hebrew (her native language), Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and, of course, English. She once declared, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star” in a graduation speech in front of several students from Harvard, where she earned her psychology degree.

10. Ashton Kutcher has a head for investments.

Kutcher, famous for shows like Two and a Half Men and That ’70s Show, took his first steps toward fame as a model, but before that, he studied Biochemical Engineering at the University of Iowa. He abandoned his career in science when his modeling career began to take off. But apart from devoting himself to Hollywood, he has proven to have a very good eye for business: He was invited to invest a million dollars in Skype back in 2009, and in a mere 18 months, after Microsoft bought the company, the actor quadrupled his money. He also placed his money in promising startups like Uber and Airbnb through his company, Liberty Media.

Did any of the celebrities on this list surprise you? Do you know of other examples of stars who also stand out for their intellect? Don’t forget to share your opinion in the comment section!

Preview photo credit Natalie Portman / Instagram
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