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Famous people who studied at UK universities

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The United Kingdom has impacted history in several ways. The sovereign state incorporating England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has made engaging contributions to art, literature, sports, global politics, and technology over the years.

Albert Einstein

He needs no introduction. He is one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time. Students who have gone to school have read about him in textbooks. He is one of the founders of modern physics and best known for developing the theory of relativity. He also made important contributions to quantum mechanics.

Before immigrating to the USA, Albert Einstein, the Nobel winning physicist, studied at Christ Church College briefly. His inventions and discoveries still baffle today’s scientists. He revolutionised physics and quite left his mark on the world and science.

Charles Darwin

He is known as The Father of Evolution’ who enrolled in University of Edinburgh in 1825 at just 16 years of age. After he left Edinburgh, he came in front with his theory of evolution in 1858. The following year he published his work, “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.”

Mahatma Gandhi

He is considered The father of the Indian Nation and the global icon for non-violent movements across the world, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi studied law and became a barrister at the Inner Temple, London in 1988.  Gandhi attended University College, London, where he took classes in English literature in 1888–1889. He even passed his matriculation exam at the University of London in 1890. 

Gandhi’s movements have struck a chord with generations and have given faith to many across the world. His 24-day Salt March in India inspired Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil rights movement.

Nelson Mandela

He was an anti-apartheid revolutionary and President of South Africa (1994-1999). Mandela studied law at the University of London via a distance learning course. He did so while serving a 27-year sentence at Robben Island prison for his activist work.

Malala Yousafzai

She is a women’s rights activist who graduated from the University of Oxford in 2020. She is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and has been campaigning for equal education for girls since the Taliban occupation of her home country, Pakistan in 2008. She was shot in the head and critically wounded in 2012 by the terrorist group for criticising its ban on girls attending school. She survived and her family relocated to Birmingham. In 2017, she was offered a place to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. She wrote of her time at the university: ‘I listened to inspiring lectures from some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders. But I learned as much or more from my peers.’

Alan Turing

He is often referred to as the father of modern computing. Turing gained a degree in mathematics from University of Cambridge. In 1948, he became deputy director of the University of Manchester’s computing laboratory, where he helped create software for one of the earliest computers.

Benedict Cumberbatch

He is a drama graduate of the University of Manchester who earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Turing in the 2015 film The Imitation Game.

John Logie Baird

He is an inventor and television pioneer. Baird studied engineering at the University of Glasgow and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (the predecessor of the University of Strathclyde) from 1914-1915. He used his engineering skills to achieve the first broadcast of a static image. Two years later Baird’s television company made the first transatlantic television communication from London to New York, and later succeeded in developing colour television.

Oscar Wilde

The topic of Literature cannot be complete without the mention of Oscar Wilde. He attended Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. He wrote masterpieces like The Picture of Dorian Gray. His name is definitely an enormous addition to the list of famous people from Oxford. 

J.K Rowling

She is a British author and philanthropist. She earned a BA in French from University of Exeter graduating in 1987. She wrote Harry Potter, a seven-volume fantasy series published from 1997 to 2007. The series has sold over 600 million copies, translated into 84 languages, and spawned a global media franchise including films and video games.

Rabindranath Tagore

He is a legendary artist who studied at University College London in 1878 but never completed his degree. He was awarded the Noble Prize in literature in 1913 and became the first non-European to win it. He was also granted a knighthood in 1915.

Dame Zaha Hadid

She attended Architectural Association School of Architecture which is the oldest private school of architecture in the UK. She is the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Also, she was the first lady to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Dame Zaha Hadid is the winner of this huge collection of prizes.

She was born in Baghdad, Iraq but was compelled to leave during the emergence of Saddam Hussein. She has worked on imaginative buildings stretching from Britain to Abu Dhabi.