Guru Podcast Season 1 Episode 5: The science of being beautiful

What makes someone attractive?

In this episode of the Guru podcast, Ross, Dr Stu and Isabel Hutchison talk about the celebrities they have the hots for. Exploring the science and psychology behind what makes a beautiful face, they rank top stars’ faces and then see whether their opinions match up with what the science says. And that’s not all. Our News Guru, Simon Makin, also chats with Simon Watt, of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society comedy outfit and Sile Lane from Sense about Science. It all makes for a truly gorgeous show!

The hottest celebrities (scientifically speaking)

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But is that really the whole story? Everyone has their favourite movie star who they think to be drop-dead gorgeous – be it Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. And most of these celebrities have certain things in common – find out what in this episode…

Also, Simon Makin looks back at his time at the 2013 Brighton Science Festival, UK. In this episode we hear him interview Simon Watt, comedian from the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, an hilarious comedy act that makes audiences laugh as they raise the profile of some of “Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged” children. The panda gets too much attention, apparently.

Simon also chats with Sile Lane from Sense about Science about the All Trials campaign. She explains what is wrong with the way scientific research is disseminated and what we can do about it.

Facial Symmetry and Averageness images

See how morphing faces makes for an attractive face:

Facial Avereages (University of Texas)

Source: University of Texas

Discover which celebrities have looks that put them on top – according to the science of facial symmetry – in this infographic (Source: Huffington Post Science/Nebraska Medical Center).

The Guru Podcast is released bi-weekly on Mondays.
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Slider image source: on Flickr

Komori, M., Kawamura, S., & Ishihara, S. (2009). Averageness or symmetry: Which is more important for facial attractiveness? Acta Psychologica, 131 (2), 136-142 DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.03.008

Rhodes, G. (2001). Do facial averageness and symmetry signal health? Evolution and Human Behavior, 22 (1), 31-46 DOI: 10.1016/S1090-5138(00)00060-X

Article by Stuart Farrimond

January 6, 2014

Doctor Stu is editor of Guru Magazine. He originally trained as a medical doctor before deciding to branch out into lecturing, writing, editing and science communication. He drinks far too much coffee, eats lots of ice cream and has a bizarre love of keeping fit.
You can check out Doctor Stu’s blog at or his poncy personal website Here's his .

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