About UCL


Famous alumni


2006: Rob Williams – rowing

Rob Williams (UCL Biotechnology 2006) wins gold in the lightweight men’s four at the World Rowing Championships in 2010. He follows this success with a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

2006: Joshua Hayward – music

Joshua Hayward (UCL Physics 2006) releases his first album Strange House with his band the Horrors in 2007. The band joins Florence and the Machine on their UK and Ireland tour in 2012.

2005: Christine Ohuruogu – athletics

Christine Ohuruogu…

Christine Ohuruogu MBE (UCL Linguistics 2005) wins a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in the 400m.


1996: Julian Baggini – publishing

Julian Baggini (UCL Philosophy 1996) co-founds The Philosophers’ Magazine in 1997. His book, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: And Ninety-Nine Other Thought Experiments, is published in 2005.

1996: Coldplay – music


Chris Martin (UCL Greek and Latin 1996), Jonny Buckland (UCL Mathematics 1996), Will Champion (UCL Anthropology 1996) and Guy Berryman (UCL Engineering Sciences 1996) meet at Ramsay Hall during Freshers' Week and go on to form Coldplay.

1993: Christopher Nolan – film

Christopher Nolan…

Former student Christopher Nolan (UCL English 1993) directs his debut film Following in 1998. He goes on to direct Inception in 2010, shooting some of it in UCL's Gustave Tuck lecture theatre.

1992: Justine Frischmann – music

Justine Frischmann (UCL Bartlett 1992) co-founds Suede with then-boyfriend Brett Anderson in 1989. Her new band, Elastica, releases their first album in 1995.

1991: Brett Anderson – music

Brett Anderson (UCL Bartlett 1991) hits number one in the UK album charts as vocalist of Suede in 1993. The band breaks up in 2003 but reforms in 2010.

1990: Douglas Gordon – film

Douglas Gordon (UCL Slade 1990) wins the Turner Prize in 1996. Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle, a feature-length film following the French footballer during a match, premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.


1989: Farshid Moussavi – architecture

Farshid Moussavi (UCL Bartlett 1989) co-founds Foreign Office Architects (FOA) in 1993. She goes on to design the award-winning Yokohama International Ferry Terminal in 1995.

1987: Andrew Davenport – television

Andrew Davenport…

Andrew Davenport (UCL Phonetics & Linguistics 1987) wins a second BAFTA award in 1998, this time for Teletubbies. He goes on to create In The Night Garden in 2007.

1987: Rachel Whiteread – art

Rachel Whiteread CBE (UCL Slade 1987) becomes the first woman to be awarded the Turner Prize in 1993.


1977: Lynn Truss – publishing

Lynn Truss (UCL English 1977) completes Eats, Shoots & Leaves in 2003. This guide to punctuation misuse tops the bestseller charts in both Britain and the United States.

1976: Chris Rapley – science

Chris Rapley CBE (UCL Astronomy 1976) arranges for a band to perform in Antarctica as part of the Live Earth concert in 2007. In the same year, he is appointed Director of the Science Museum.

1976: Baroness Scotland – politics

Former UCL LLB student Baroness Scotland (UCL Laws 1976) becomes the first female Attorney General since the post was created in 1315.

1973: Jonathan Miller – film and television

Jonathan Miller (UCL History of Medicine 1973) directs a Mafia-inspired adaption of Rigoletto in 1982. In 2004, he writes and presents Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, a historical review of atheism for BBC Four.

1970: Patrick Head – Williams Formula One

Patrick Head (UCL Mechanical Engineering 1970; Fellow 2005) co-founds Williams Formula One in 1977. It has since gone on to become one of the most successful teams of the past 20 years.


1968: Junichiro Koizumi – politics

Junichiro Koizumi (UCL Economics 1968) becomes Prime Minister of Japan in 2001.

1967: Derek Jarman – film and music

Derek Jarman (UCL Slade 1967) writes and directs Sebastiane, a homoerotic interpretation of the life of Saint Sebastian, in 1976. It is the first film to be entirely recorded in Latin. He directs the Pet Shop Boys’ UK tour in 1989.

1965: Richard MacCormac –  architecture

Sir Richard MacCormac (UCL Bartlett 1965) wins national awards for his modernist creations, including the University of Lancaster’s Ruskin Library in 1998. A year later, he designs Thierry Henry's £6 million Hampstead mansion.

1964: Michael Epstein and Yvonne Barr – medicine

Michael Epstein, Yvonne Barr and Bert Achong identify the Epstein-Barr virus (responsible for glandular fever) at the UCL Medical School, Middlesex Hospital.


1957: Andrew Davies – television

Andrew Davies (UCL English 1957) writes the television adaption of political thriller House of Cards in 1990. He becomes a household name for his adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth in 1995 and goes on to win an Emmy award for Little Dorrit in 2008.

1957: Raymond Briggs – illustration

Raymond Briggs (UCL Slade 1957) completes wordless children’s book The Snowman in 1978. The film version is nominated for an Academy Award in 1982.

1955: David Lodge – publishing

David Lodge (UCL English 1955) completes his Booker Prize-nominated Campus Trilogy, which satirises academic life, in 1988. He adapts Martin Chuzzlewit for the BBC in 1994.

1952: Roger Penrose – science and maths

Roger Penrose (UCL Mathematics 1952) proves that black holes can be formed from the collapse of dying stars in 1965. He shares the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to mankind’s understanding of the universe.


1948: Colin Chapman – car manufacturing

Colin Chapman…

Former engineering student Colin Chapman (UCL Structural Engineering 1948) creates the Lotus Mark 1, which he enters into local racing events. With it, the legendary Lotus cars are born.

1947: Eduardo Paolozzi – art

Eduardo Paolozzi (UCL Slade 1947) finishes I was a Rich Man's Plaything, a collage considered one of the earliest examples of pop art, in 1947. In 1984, he makes a lasting contribution to London by designing the colourful mosaic murals in Tottenham Court Road Station.


1938: Ken Adam – set design

Ken Adam (UCL Bartlett 1938) works as a production designer for the first James Bond film, Dr. No in 1962. He goes on to design numerous iconic film sets, including the Dr. Strangelove war room in 1964 and, in 1967, the volcanic base in You Only Live Twice.

1937: Francis Crick – science

Francis Crick…

Former student Francis Harry Compton Crick (UCL Physics 1937) and James Watson identify the DNA double helix. Their work became the basis of the human genome project.

1936: Kathleen Lonsdale – crystallography

Kathleen Lonsdale…

The Royal Society elects former student Kathleen Lonsdale (UCL Crystallography 1936) as its first woman member. In 1949, she became UCL's first ever female professor.


1913: Isaac Rosenberg – war poetry

Isaac Rosenberg (UCL Slade 1913) writes 'On Receiving News of the War' in 1914, one of the earliest poems to criticise World War I. Two years later, he publishes 'Break of Day in the Trenches', which some go on to call the greatest poem of the war. Read more about Rosenberg in the UCL Antenna article 'We will remember them'.


1909: Gustav Holst – music composition

Gustav Holst (UCL Languages 1909) finishes composition of orchestral suite The Planets in 1916. Five years later, he sets a Cecil Spring-Rice poem to music and in doing so creates the patriotic song 'I Vow to Thee, My Country'.


1868: Alexander Graham Bell – telephone invention

Alexander Graham Bell (Phonics) is credited with the invention of the telephone. Bell and his associates originally offered to sell the patent for the telephone to Western Union for $100,000. The company declined, only to offer $25 million two years later. By then, Bell was rich and no longer wished to sell the patent.

1863: Ito Hirobume – politics

Ito Hirobume…

Ito Hirobume, one of the Choshu Five, is one of the first international students to come to UCL, going on to become Prime Minister of Japan.


1846: Walter Bagehot – publishing

Walter Bagehot…

Walter Bagehot (UCL Mathematics 1846) becomes the editor of the Economist magazine in 1860. The UK current affairs section is still named after him.