Danica McKellar – Mathematician With Style

Danica McKellar - An Actor cum mathematician who proved style and stunning looks can go along with mathematics. Learn about her extraordinary journey.

When we think about mathematicians, we envision people with a poor choice of style, but Danica McKellar proves them wrong!

Three times bestseller author and mathematician, she is also a popular actress who has featured in many hit television series such as The Wonder Years and The West Wing. 

Childhood

Danica McKellar was born on January 3, 1975, in California, USA. While her mother Mahaila was an actress, her father Christopher was an actor. After the divorce of her parents, she moves to the city of Los Angeles.

She was then only 8 years old and found love in dancing with her sister Crystal Mckellar in a dance studio. She also was enrolled in the Diane Hill Hardin Young Actors Space and even appeared in a few commercials when she was only 10 years old. 

Education

After the American comedy-drama television series ‘The Wonder Years’ come to an end in 1993, in which Danica played the iconic role of Winnie Cooper, she took admission to the University of California, the U.S.A to study films.

However, she soon changed her mind when everyone starts recognizing her by her screen name. With an interest in maths, Danica finally decided to study maths.

She successfully graduated in mathematics in 1998 with the highest honors. Danica then returned to acting, but her love for mathematics become intense with time.

So, she took admission to the University of Chicago and got her Ph.D. in mathematics in 2005. 

Work

She started working as a child actor when she was only 10 years old and become a writer of an advice column in the Teen Beat magazine when she was only 14.

However, her remarkable work that makes her so distinct from her contemporaries is her flair for solving mathematical problems.

While she was a senior at the University of California, she even proved a mathematical theorem to predict the temperature at which an iron bar magnet can be longer magnetized.

The theorem proved by her, one other fellow student, and her professor was named as Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem.

She conducted extensive research work in the field of statistical mechanics of magnetic field, and the results were even published in leading Journals.

She started to advocate the need for imparting math education to girls and even testified before a Congressional Subcommittee in 2000 about the numerous ways in which a large number of women can be encouraged to join fields related to mathematics.

After receiving her P.Hd, she becomes determined to explain math concepts in a fun way by using colorful analogies so that kids, especially girls, stop shying away from maths.

She launched a website and is working tirelessly for the same cause. Meanwhile, she also makes a successful transition from a child actor to an adult actor and won many laurels for her acting prowess. 

Books 

Danica McKellar wrote several books on mathematics that go a long way in encouraging kids to develop an interest in the same. These are as follows:

  • 2007-Math Doesn’t Suck
  • 2008-Kiss My Math
  • 2010-Hot X: Algebra Exposed
  • 2012-Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape
  • 2017-Goodnight Numbers
  • 2018-Ten Magic Butterflies
  • 2018- Do Not Open This Math Book: Addition + Subtraction
  • 2018-Bathtime Math time
  • 2020- The Times Machine! Learn Multiplication and Division. . . Like, Yesterday!

Awards

Although Danica had received multiple awards for her career in acting, one that she received for her work to encourage kids to study mathematics is the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award in January 2014. 

At present, she is homeschooling her nine-year-old child and has completed her sixth Christmas Film. 

References

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005211/

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/danica-mckellar-29905.php#:~:text=In%20Their%2040s-,Childhood%20%26%20Early%20Life,actress%20and%20a%20corporate%20lawyer.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Danica-McKellar

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimclash/2016/01/11/a-beautiful-mind-wonder-years-mckellar-winnie-cooper-bonafide-math-whiz/

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