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The 30 Most Famous Oxford Students of All Time

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Kate Beckinsale

The prestigious Oxford University has been teaching students since 1096—and it's produced some of the greatest minds and successful people in the world.

You've seen the famous alumni from Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Princeton. But even these prestigious schools don't come close to the pedigree of England's top school.

 

Robert Hooke received his M.A. in 1662 or 1663

While at Oxford, Robert Hooke was an assistant to the famed philosopher Robert Boyle.

In 1665, he published his famous book "Micrographia" based on his studies of plant tissue. He is also responsible for coining the term “cell” when he discovered the existence of microorganisms.

While he is most known for his contributions to cell theory, Hook was also an accomplished and versatile scientist who developed the combustion theory and invented the reflecting telescope.



Edmund Halley attended Oxford at the age of 16, but left in 1676 without graduating

Edmund Halley was a mathematician and astronomer who first calculated the orbit of the comet later named after him. 

Halley’s work in the field of astronomy was greatly influenced by John Flamsteed, the Astronomer Royal, whom he met while at Oxford.



William Penn was expelled from the university at 17 for protesting mandatory church attendance

William Penn identified himself as a Quaker, a largely persecuted group at the time.  

Under the belief that religious tolerance would not be achieved in England, Penn was granted permission from the King to establish a colony in America. When Penn arrived in 1682, the King named the colony Pennsylvania, meaning “forests of Penn.”



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