• Question: Who is the most famous scientist you've met?

    Asked by AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA to Aaron, Abbey, Keith, Natalie, Pete on 10 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Aaron Boardley

      Aaron Boardley answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      I’ve met Jim Al-Khalili, who does a lot of work on BBC TV and radio including some work with Brian Cox. He is a physicist at the University of Surrey.

      I also meet people at work who do TV work, even if they are not names you would necessarily recognise. Last week I was working on a talk by Dr Hugh Hunt from the University of Cambridge – he has done some TV documentaries about the Dambusters during the war, which were seen by millions of people on Channel 4.

      Oh, and my old maths lecturer Dr Chris Budd has popped up on The One Show a few times. Again, not a household name but someone you might recognise if you saw him.

    • Photo: Peter Burgess

      Peter Burgess answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      When I did my masters degree my class graduated with Dr Brian May who was being awarded his PhD in physics. He’s better known for his music career but he’s a pretty famous scientist.

      I also have a bit of a habit of visiting famous scientists birth places. I’ve been to the birthplaces of Newton, Einstein and Marie Curie.

    • Photo: Natalie Garrett

      Natalie Garrett answered on 10 Nov 2015:

      My celebrity answer is the same as Peter’s, funnily enough!

      A few years ago, Brian May was the University of Exeter’s celebrity of honour at the graduation ceremony. You may have heard that he has done a PhD in Astrophysics, so I should really call him Dr Brian May. He was keen to visit the School of Physics after giving his speech, because we do some really cool Astrophysics work here.

      He had a tour of the building, and afterwards I asked if I could take a photo of him and my fiancee, and his wife Anita Dobson said “of course!” and she actually ended up taking a photo of me, Brian and my fiancee. You can see the photo here:

      This was a really big deal to me because Queen is one of my favourite bands and I think Brian May is not only a genius on guitar, but also a genuinely lovely person. He wished me and fiancee good luck with our wedding, and 8 years on we’re still reminiscing about meeting Brian May 🙂

    • Photo: Keith Franklin

      Keith Franklin answered on 11 Nov 2015:

      There is a difference between “Famous Scientist” off the telly, and famous scientist because they made many discoveries.

      I met Richard Barrer – who discovered how to make clever materials that can separate very small chemicals from each other (they are called molecular sieves).