Before Oscar, Portman Was Science Geek

The celebrated actress has a side you may not know about
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2011 8:26 AM CST
Natalie Portman: Before Winning Oscar, Actress Was a Science Geek
Actress Natalie Portman arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – You probably already know that Natalie Portman is an Academy Award-winning actress, but did you know that she's also a science prodigy? In high school—while she was already starring in films alongside Julia Roberts and Jack Nicholson—Portman made it to the semifinals of the Intel Science Talent Search, a research competition that has produced Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipients, the New York Times reports.

Portman, of course, also went on to study neuroscience at Harvard; one of her mentors says that she's taught "a lot of very bright kids," but "there are very few who are as inherently bright as Natalie"—or who work as hard. "Natalie never once asked for an extension or to be excused from her responsibilities," even when, say, she had to appear on Letterman. And she's not the only actress with impressive science chops: The Times also mentions The Wonder Years' Danica McKellar (a mathematician), and Blossom's Mayim Bialik, (a neuroscientist). For more things Portman, click to read her scathing remarks about John Galliano. (Read more Natalie Portman stories.)

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