Scientific hotties

I was at a book launch at the Science Museum on Monday night. An old lecturer of mine, Graham Farmelo, has written a fascinating biography of Paul Dirac, a somewhat forgotten hero of quantum physics.

I’ve never been to a book launch before (before you all start thinking I’m attending a constant round of glamorous parties) so it was all very exciting. Apparently what I should have worn to fit in was a black suit and a beard, but hey, I’ll know next time. The canapés on sticks were good.

Anyway, I ended up getting chatting to a guy called Tim, who was very funny, and his similarly scurrilous friend (whose name I typically failed to transfer to long term storage). I discovered afterwards that Tim was Prof Tim Molloy, Head of Creative Direction for the Science Museum. Not quite sure what that means, but it sounds very sweeping. I guess I’d have been less cheeky if I’d known that at the time.

Tim was bemoaning the lack of glamour in science. Apparently he had this idea to produce a Science Museum calendar, but none of the curators could suggest a single good-looking scientist (any sexy scientists reading this should take it up with the curators, I’m just the messenger here guys). You’d think just by the law of averages some scientists would have to be cute, wouldn’t you? Unless science somehow drives the babes away, which can’t be right. We’re all here, aren’t we?

Anyway, I have taken up Tim’s challenge to find 12 ravishing scientists (of either gender), because, dammit, geeks can be sexy too!

So far I have suggested many candidates, but only 9 has Tim judged to be ‘Hot as hell’:-

Brian Cox (suggested by everyone, including his lovely wife Gia)

Kevin Fong (who apparently has a sexy voice too)

Adam Rutherford (who I’m told is also funny. But I thought good-looking people didn’t need to bother having a nice personality?)

Alice Roberts (‘of course!’, I was told)

Laura Grant (‘the Nigella of science‘, sorry Laura!)

And, from EPSRC‘s NOISEmakers programme:-

Sima Adhya

Daniel Espino

Tim Gabriel

Laurie Winkless

Now I do feel that Tim has passed over some worthy contenders, but again, don’t blame me for your non-inclusion. I guess if I was fussier on the aesthetic front, I might be SM’s Head of Creative Direction too.

I’d also suggested Charlotte Uhlenbroek (worthy of inclusion for that photo alone, I thought) but apparently they can’t be zoologists (I guess they’d have to go on the NHM calendar).

If anyone can think of any other scorchingly sexy scientists, then let me know. We’ve only October, November and December to go. Which gorgeous geeks can cheers us during those winter months?

Posted on January 28, 2009 by in Scientists. Tagged , . 19 Comments.

19 Responses to Scientific hotties

  1. Rob says:

    You seem to be using a very broad definition of “scientist”. Are Uhlenbroek or Rutherford research-active? One is a TV presenter, the other is a journalist.

    If you’re including people who studied science, rather than career scientists, them GMTV’s new weathergirl Kirty McCabe has a first-class degree in Geophysics from Edinburgh. And 80s movie star Dolph Lungren took a degree in chemical engineering.

  2. Dr H and Dr H says:

    We vote for Dr Jon Copley, a sexy marine biologist at Southampton University. You can check him out at:

    Why do we recommend him? Because he has buns of steel, wears inappropriately tight trousers when giving lectures and once donned a sparkly leotard (for charity). Shame we can’t post our pictures here…

    So vote for Jon, he’s hot! Yours, Dr H (senior) and Dr H (junior)

  3. SophiaC says:

    Rob, you raise an interesting point on the definition of scientist. I think strictly speaking, a scientist should be a research scientist – otherwise they are not ‘doing science’, merely using science.

    But then isn’t a trained scientist who gathers and communicates scientific information also doing the work of science? Particularly working on a peer-reviewed journal (like Adam Rutherford), because peer review is one of the cornerstones of science. I do think there’s a difference between that and Dolph Lundgren.

    My (entirely arbitrary) decision is that I’ll count a trained research scientist (by which I mean at least postgraduate study) who is working in research, or in the communication and dissemination of science. But I’m happy to change my mind on that if anyone puts forward a convincing argument.

  4. SophiaC says:

    Is there some sort of concerted campaigning on behalf of Jon Copley? I’ve received an email about him too! Drs H and H aren’t his Mum and Dad are they?

    Anyway, I’m happy to put Dr steel-buns forward, but I’d ideally like some sort of documentary evidence for your claims. Have you got any photos of the famous buns, preferably clad in these inappropriate trousers?

  5. SophiaC says:

    I’ve had another suggestion by email – Wendy Sadler from Science Made Simple ( I’ve met Wendy and she is a babe, and also lovely.

  6. Jo says:

    Hmmm… still not sure I agree with your broad definition. As a journo, Rutherford works on the front news section of Nature; he’s not involved in the peer-review process for the papers published in the journal.

    And there are good science communicators who don’t have science backgrounds. For example, Mark Henderson at the Times has a degree in history, but is an excellent science journalist. So one doesn’t have to be a scientist to be a science communicator; ergo working in science communication does not make one a scientist. I’m not dissing science communication, however!

    If the goal here is to tackle poor stereotyping of scientists, then let’s stick to “proper” scientists who are career researchers. I think there are still plenty of hotties out there 😉

  7. SophiaC says:

    Good point Jo. I’m not laying down the law on anything, just thinking out loud really, so thanks for entering the discussion:-)

    I guess you’re right, research active scientists only it is. Although that leaves us one down as it rules out our dashing Mr Rutherford. Which means we need more suggestions!

  8. SophiaC says:

    Incidentally, I have received more Jon Copley fanmail, including a photo supporting the claims made about his shapely buttocks which I feel I cannot reprint on a family blog. I will however forward a copy to anyone who donates £500 towards the running costs of the March I’m a Scientist event.;-)

  9. Jon Copley says:

    What the heck?! Here I am on a ship in the Southern Ocean, trying to do some research, with very limited ship-to-shore communications, when I hear a rumour that a picture of my backside is being circulated back home?

    I will have to investigate whoever leaked that when I get back… but I suppose I should be flattered? In an ideal world, however, I’d rather my science was more interesting than my trousers, so here’s a video clip from our expedition – with some science content! – at


  10. SophiaC says:

    Eeek! Hiya Jon. Sorry to have focussed attention on your physical attributes rather than your (many) intellectual achievements. If it puts your mind at rest, the photo isn’t really of your backside, which you can only see a bit of. You are mainly facing towards the camera. I’d say it showcases your other, errrm, assets rather more. Nice leotard, BTW:-)

    Fear not, I haven’t circulated the photo. And if The National Oceanography Centre wants to sponsor a scientist to take part in IAS this March, then I’m sure I won’t have to… My lips are sealed about the source of the leak though…

    BTW, I was having a look at your twitter feed (, very interesting. Have you thought about following more people? Then they could ask questions about what you are doing and it would be more interactive?

  11. AdamRutherford says:

    Now hold on a dabnang minute! I do have a proper PhD and everything and several papers under my name, even though now I’m a lowly hack. *And* I could take Lundgren, no sweat.

    [Is it a sign of desperation to plead for one’s own inclusion in such a list? I ain’t too proud to beg. Clearly. ]

  12. SophiaC says:

    Blimey, now Channel 4 hunk Dr Adam Rutherford graces my humble blog! I wish I’d done my hair today.

    OK, Dr R, you’re back in the list. Jo’s logic is still impeccable, but I do so like it when men beg…

  13. AdamRutherford says:

    Yay! My C4 days are behind me now, I’m all about BBC4, where you sacrifice viewers for fact.

  14. SophiaC says:

    Sacrificing viewers for facts? Sounds like a really no messing version of QI…

  15. SophiaC says:

    OK, even MORE fanmail for Dr Copley. This time I’ve been sent a photo with JC holding a sword, and naked from the waist up. Yes, a sword. No, I’ve no idea why either. It does look kind of manly though. In the absence of semi-naked photos of Adam Rutherford, I’d have to say, my money is on ‘The Cop’ in a wrestling contest.

    Actually, he could be naked all the way down for all I know, but you can only see his top half in the photo. And totally naked would surely be a Health and Safety hazard, what with the dangerous weapon…

  16. Kate H says:

    Having seen Mr Rutherford 100% naked *in the flesh* (during filming of a scene in his lowly C4 Science days) as well as his co-presenters Jem Stansfield and Basil Singer (PhD Quantum Physics) I think I’m qualified to comment. No offence Adam but didn’t you think it was a little remiss of you not to mention the undeniable ‘hottness’ of your co-presenters when fighting for your own inclusion? How many fan letters did you get? And how many for Basi?
    Put Basil on the list. It’s only fair.

  17. Kate H says:

    Jem’s fit too, but would have to go on the hot engineers list I’m afraid.

  18. SophiaC says:

    Blimey, that’s not fair, I’d never have left TV if I was surrounded by naked hotties all day. The nearest I got was Adam Hart-Davies in a pair of speedos, which really *wasn’t* the same thing at all.

  19. SciGal says:

    Regarding hot NOISEmakers, rather than Sima, Daniel, Tim and Lawrie I think Matthew, Melanie, Joanna and John should be thrown into the ring.

    Any thoughts?

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