Cambridge University Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of Cambridge University. The list includes people like Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing, Emma Thompson, Sacha Baron Cohen & Charles Darwin. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as scientists, writers, film & theater personalities, intellectuals & academics and media personalities etc.
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 1 
Sacha Baron Cohen
(Known for Portrayal of the Fictional Satirical Characters)
Sacha Baron Cohen
92
Birthdate: October 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

An English comedian, actor, writer, and director, Sacha Baron Cohen, is the creator of many fictional satirical characters, including Ali G and Borat Sagdiyev. He adopts a variety of accents and guises while playing these characters. He has been criticized for passing sexist and sexual comments. He is a mildly controversial figure and has been involved in a few lawsuits.

 2 
Rebecca Hall
(Actress)
Rebecca Hall
43
Birthdate: May 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 3 
Bertrand Russell
(Philosopher)
Bertrand Russell
35
Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

 4 
Lee Kuan Yew
(Founding Father of Modern Singapore)
Lee Kuan Yew
24
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 16, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Singapore, Straits Settlements
Died: March 23, 2015

Lawyer-turned-politician Lee Kuan Yew, also known as LKY, was the first prime minister of Singapore, from 1959 to 1990. He established the People's Action Party. He later also served as his country’s Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. He was also part of David Rockefeller's International Council and Forbes's Brain Trust.

 5 
Sam Mendes
(Film Director)
Sam Mendes
9
Birthdate: August 1, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reading

Sam Mendes is an English filmmaker known for his dark re-inventions of popular stage musicals. The recipient of a Tony Award, Mendes received the Academy Award for his film directorial debut American Beauty. In the 2020 New Years Honours, he was knighted for services to drama. He was also featured on the 100 most powerful people in British culture list.

 6 
Har Gobind Khorana
(Indian American Biochemist Who was One of the Recipients of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Medicine)
Har Gobind Khorana
7
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: January 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Punjab, India
Died: November 9, 2011

Born into a poor family in British India, Har Gobind Khorana studied on scholarships and later bagged a seat at the University of Liverpool and thus moved to England. The renowned biochemist ended up winning the Nobel Prize for his research on how nucleotides in nucleic acids control protein synthesis.

 7 
Olivia Colman
(Known for Her Comedic, Dramatic Roles in Film and Television)
Olivia Colman
35
Birthdate: January 30, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK

Olivia Colman is a British actress best known for her dramatic and comedic roles in film and television. One of the most decorated actresses of her generation, Colman has received many prestigious awards such as an Academy Award, Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Globe Awards, and BAFTA TV Awards. Olivia Colman is also known for her philanthropic efforts.

 8 
Henri Cartier-Bresson
(Photographer and Painter)
Henri Cartier-Bresson
3
Listed In: Photographers
Birthdate: August 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chanteloup-en-Brie, France
Died: August 3, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer. Considered a master of candid photography, he pioneered the genre of street photography. He was among the earliest users of the 35 mm film. In 1947, he became one of the founding members of Magnum Photos, an international photographic cooperative. In his later years, he explored drawing and painting. 

 9 
Samuel Pepys
(Member of Parliament)
Samuel Pepys
8
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 23, 1633
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 26, 1703
 10 
Jagadish Chandra Bose
11
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: November 30, 1858
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bikrampur, Bengal Presidency, British India (Now Munshiganj District of Bangladesh)
Died: November 23, 1937

Indian physicist, biologist, and plant physiologist Jagadish Chandra Bose revolutionized science with his research on how plants and animals react to external stimuli. He founded the Bose Institute, made pioneering contribution to the field of radio and microwave optics, and also penned one of the first works of Bengali science fiction.

 11 
Lily Cole
(Actor, Model)
Lily Cole
2
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: December 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Torquay
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 12 
Nicola Walker
(Actress)
Nicola Walker
15
Birthdate: May 15, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stepney, London, England, UK
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 13 
Sophie Okonedo
(Actress)
Sophie Okonedo
7
Birthdate: August 11, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 14 
James Chadwick
(Discoverer of Neutron)
James Chadwick
4
Birthdate: October 20, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bollington
Died: July 24, 1974

Best remembered as a Nobel laureate who discovered neutron, Sir James Chadwick began his career at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, where he worked with Ernest Rutherford to investigate the nature of atomic nucleus, a work that led to the epoch-making discovery. Credited with writing the final draft of the MAUD Report, he also headed the British team at the Manhattan Project

 15 
Thomas Merton
(One of the Most Important American Roman Catholic Writers of the 20th Century)
Thomas Merton
13
Birthdate: January 31, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Prades, France
Died: December 10, 1968

American Trappist monk and theologian Thomas Merton was ordained a priest and named Father Louis. He was a member of the monastery Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. He is remembered for his bestselling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, and for his study of Eastern religions such as Buddhism.

 16 
Rupert Brooke
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 3, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rugby
Died: April 23, 1915
 17 
Alex Horne
(Comedian)
Alex Horne
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: UK
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 18 
Francis Galton
(Polymath)
Francis Galton
7
Birthdate: February 16, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: January 17, 1911

Nineteenth-century polymath Francis Galton revolutionized science with his pathbreaking research on human intelligence and psychometrics. His books dealt with diverse topics such as correlational calculus, fingerprint analysis, and meteorology, and he also explored Africa. He left Cambridge without an honors degree, and yet ended up being knighted for his achievements.

 19 
Harold Abrahams
( Olympic Champion in 1924 in the 100 metres Sprint)
Harold Abrahams
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 15, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bedford, Bedfordshire, England
Died: January 14, 1978

English track and field athlete is best remembered for his gold medal win in the 100m race at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Part of the Achilles Club, he and his exploits inspired the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Following his retirement, he became a broadcaster and sports administrator.

 20 
Alfred Marshall
(Economist)
Alfred Marshall
1
Birthdate: July 26, 1842
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bermondsey
Died: July 13, 1924

One of the co-founders of the English neoclassical school of economics, 19th-century economist Alfred Marshall is best remembered for his path-breaking book Principles of Economics. His studies on topics such as marginal utility, consumer’s surplus, and the elasticity of demand, enriched the field of economics for years to come.

 21 
Françoise Gilot
(French Painter Best Known for Her Relationship with 'Pablo Picasso')
Françoise Gilot
1
Birthdate: November 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Françoise Gilot is a French painter whose professional career was overshadowed by her long and turbulent relationship with Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. After breaking up with Picasso, with whom Gilot had two children, the former deterred galleries from buying her work. He even tried blocking the release of her memoir Life With Picasso which was released in 1964.

 22 
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
(Indian Poet and Writer of the 'Nayi Kavita Literary Movement' Best Known for His Early Work 'Madhushala')
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
7
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 27, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: January 18, 2003

A pioneer of Hindi romantic poetry and the Chhayavaad movement, Harivanshrai Bachchan is best remembered for his book of 135 quatrains, Madhushala. He was the first Indian to earn a PhD in English literature from Cambridge University. He was also the father of legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan.

 23 
Ol Parker
(Writer)
Ol Parker
2
Birthdate: June 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, UK
 24 
Arthur Eddington
(Astronomer)
Arthur Eddington
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 28, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kendal
Died: November 22, 1944

Arthur Eddington was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. He wrote numerous articles that explained Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world. He began his career in academics and eventually shifted to astronomy, becoming the chief assistant to the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. He was a recipient of the Henry Draper Medal. 

 25 
Rajiv Gandhi
(Former Prime Minister of India)
Rajiv Gandhi
52
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 20, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: May 21, 1991

Rajiv Gandhi was the sixth and the youngest Prime Minister of India. He played a major role in suhering the computer era in India. During the initial phase of his term, he was very popular but later on his regime was marred by corruption scandals and he lost the next election. He was assassinated by Tamil militants, while he was the leader of the opposition. 

 26 
Sarah Solemani
(Known for Her Role in the Sitcom ‘Him & Her’ and Film ‘Bridget Jones's Baby’)
Sarah Solemani
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Camden, London, England

English actress, writer and activist Sarah Solemani is best-recognised for starring in the British television sitcom Him & Her; and for playing Miranda, best friend of Renee Zellweger, in the blockbuster hit romantic-comedy film Bridget Jones's Baby. She advocates for the rights of sex workers; writes regularly for Glamour and Red, and has contributed to Harper's Bazaar and The Guardian.

 27 
George Plimpton
(Journalists)
George Plimpton
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 26, 2003
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 28 
King Charles III
(King of the United Kingdom)
King Charles III
85
Birthdate: November 14, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England

King Charles III is King of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. He acceded to the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Charles III is the oldest person ever to assume the British throne. He was the oldest and the longest-serving heir apparent in British history and the longest-serving Prince of Wales.

 29 
Simon McBurney
(Actor)
Simon McBurney
0
Birthdate: August 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 30 
Carrie Lam
(Politician)
Carrie Lam
4
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: May 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wan Chai, Hong Kong, England

Carrie Lam is a Hong Kong politician who has been serving as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. From 2007 to 2012, she served as the Secretary for Development. From 2012 to 2017, Lam was the Chief Secretary for Administration. A controversial leader, Carrie Lam's administration witnessed the criminalization of the Hong Kong National Party.

 31 
Colin Greenwood
(Musician)
Colin Greenwood
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 32 
Simon Russell Beale
(Theatre and Film Actor Best Known for His Plays: 'Volpone', 'Candide' and 'Uncle Vanya')
Simon Russell Beale
1
Birthdate: January 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia

Born to doctor parents, Simon Russell Beale chose to study music and drama instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. A Guildhall alumnus, he gained fame performing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he collaborated with Sam Mendes. The Tony Award-winning actor has also been knighted for his achievements.

 33 
Jimmy Carr
(Actor, Comedian, Television presenter)
Jimmy Carr
12
Birthdate: September 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Jimmy Carr is one of the biggest selling live comedians of Britain. The award-winning performer is best known for shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and jokes about everything from politics to sex. He has gained fame for his signature deadpan delivery, his high-pitched laughter, and his dark humor.

 34 
Louise Lombard
(Actress)
Louise Lombard
0
Birthdate: September 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Redbridge, London, England
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 35 
Griff Rhys Jones
(Actor, Comedian)
Griff Rhys Jones
1
Birthdate: November 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cardiff
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 36 
Jo Cox
(Former British Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen (2015 - 2016))
Jo Cox
108
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Batley, West Yorkshire, England
Died: June 16, 2016

British MP and Labour Party politician Jo Cox had also worked with Oxfam. The world was shocked by the news of her brutal assassination in 2016. She was shot and stabbed multiple times by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair, who believed the white race was under threat due to leftist beliefs.

 37 
Dorabji Tata
(Key figure in the history and development of the Tata Group)
Dorabji Tata
2
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: August 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: June 3, 1932
 38 
Michael Howard
(British Politician and Leader of the Opposition (2003 - 2006))
Michael Howard
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gorseinon, Swansea, Wales

Michael Howard is an English politician who served as Leader of the Opposition as well as Leader of the Conservative Party from 2003 to 2005. An influential politician, Michael Howard held cabinet positions like the Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Environment, and Secretary of State for Employment under the premiership of John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

 39 
Vanessa Feltz
(British Journalist and Television Personality Who Became Known for Her Radio Show on ‘BBC Radio 2')
Vanessa Feltz
1
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Islington, London, England

Vanessa Feltz is an English broadcaster, journalist, and TV personality. Over the years, she has appeared on several popular shows, such as Vanessa, The Big Breakfast, The Wright Stuff, Celebrity Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, and This Morning.

 40 
Louise Brealey
(Actress)
Louise Brealey
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 41 
Gertrude Himmelfarb
(Historian)
Gertrude Himmelfarb
1
Birthdate: August 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 2019
 42 
Chris Weitz
(Director)
Chris Weitz
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 43 
Eric Hobsbawm
(British Historian)
Eric Hobsbawm
5
Birthdate: June 9, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: October 1, 2012
 44 
Vince Cable
(Political Leader)
Vince Cable
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: York, England, UK
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 45 
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
(Classical Soprano and Foremost Singers of 'Lieder')
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jarotschin, Poland
Died: August 3, 2006

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was a German-born Austro-British singer. Counted among the most important singers of lieder, Schwarzkopf is best remembered for her performances of the operas of Richard Strauss, Wagner, and Mozart. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest sopranos, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf won many prestigious awards including the Edison Award and the Lilli Lehmann Medal.

 46 
Colin Dexter
(Writer)
Colin Dexter
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 29, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stamford, England
Died: March 21, 2017
 47 
Emma of Normandy
(Queen)
Emma of Normandy
2
Birthdate: 0984 AD
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Died: March 6, 1052
 48 
Peter Hall
(actor, theatre director, film director, artist)
Peter Hall
0
Birthdate: November 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bury St Edmunds
 49 
James Jeans
(British Physicist, Astronomer and Mathematician)
James Jeans
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: September 11, 1877
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ormskirk, Lancashire, England
Died: September 16, 1946

James Jeans was an English physicist, astronomer, and mathematician who made great contributions to the areas of quantum theory, the theory of radiation, and stellar evolution. Along with Arthur Eddington, Jeans is a founder of British cosmology. He spent his academic career at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Princeton University. He received the Royal Medal in 1919. 

 50 
Mohamed A. El-Erian
(Egyptian-American Economist and Former CEO of 'PIMCO')
Mohamed A. El-Erian
3
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: August 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Born to Egyptian parents in New York, Mohamed A. El-Erian grew up in the U.S., Egypt, and France, with his diplomat father. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, he later served as the CEO of PIMCO. Apart from being a Bloomberg columnist, he has also written bestsellers such as When Markets Collide.

The University of Cambridge, located in England, is a name which is popular in most households around the world. Doesn’t this speak volumes about its popularity? This notable institution known for imparting an outstanding quality of education was founded in 1209. It is also famous for being the ‘fourth oldest university in the world’. As of 2015, more than 19,000 students had enrolled at this world famous institution. Apart from its lush green campus, a library with an interesting collection of a million books and its highly qualified staff, the university is also famous for its notable alumni. Some of these individuals who studied at Cambridge are even important names in history books. Legendary scientists Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking are former students of this renowned institution. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is being taught to students all over the world and has also significantly helped scientists involved in further research on the subject. Stephen Hawking is not only known for his contributions to the field of science, but is also considered one among the few immensely influential people around the world today. Hawking’s life also inspired the Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Theory Of Everything’, which earned a lot of accolades. ‘Borat’ star Sasha Baron Cohen, acclaimed actor Stephen Fry and Hollywood star Rachel Weisz are a few other eminent personalities who studied at the University of Cambridge. We have compiled a list which consists of noteworthy celebrities who were former students of University of Cambridge. This might just inspire you to work harder to secure a place at this world famous university.