I’ve always had a soft spot for athletes who were science majors in college. It isn’t easy to balance the demands of a physical training regimen along with a full course load, particularly when said course load includes a number of lengthy laboratory classes, so I’m impressed when someone tackles both. I don’t know why I haven’t been keeping an actual list of scientist-turned-athletes (or vice versa), except that I don’t really have any purpose for doing so. But apparently I’m not the only one who has an interest in scientist-athletes, so I’ll take a first pass at starting a list.
We should probably set some parameters first. For our purposes, I’m happy to keep these as broad as possible.
What is a STEM major? As a start, I looked at the US Census Bureau’s graphic, Where do college graduates work? A Special Focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (thanks, Chemjobber!) Declaring a major or field of study is sufficient, no degree needs to be completed (although we could probably tack on a column to indicate a completed degree).
Who is considered an athlete? How do we define what constitutes a professional athlete? It’s easy to say that anyone who makes it to the majors counts. Independent leagues of various sports should be included, as should Olympians. If we’d like to include as many female athletes as possible, we should consider college athletes as well… but the list could grow unwieldy.