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NRI Manga pips Depp, Pitt

The geophysicist has been chosen by People magazine with Hollywood stars.

india Updated: Dec 26, 2005 18:57 IST

A geophysicist of Indian origin has been selected the 'Sexiest Man Alive' by People magazine along with Hollywood superstars Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

Michael Manga, a 37-year-old geology professor of UC Berkeley, who won the $500,000 MacArthur 'genius' grant earlier in 2005, was included in People magazine's world's 14 sexiest men list including Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Orlando Bloom among others.

"My first inclination, of course, was to say no, because that's not how I perceive myself," Manga, father of two boys, said. "But it is a way to let people know about science and that it isok to be a scientist."

 
 Dreamiest dude: Michael Manga

The People magazine's list has included academics since 1997 and magazine editors who scanned pictures of this year's MacArthur winners and came across the pony-tailed Manga, said Elizabeth Sporkin, People's executive editor.

"I think a lot of people would be thrilled to have him as their professor," Sporkin said. "He has long hair, he's hip, he's young."

According to university publication, UC Berkley News, Michael told his wife, librarian Susan Storch that People magazine had contacted him because he had won the MacArthur in September.

 

 Depp and Pitt: No more the sexiest

Manga's wife "laughed for an hour" when her husband told her he was going to be in America's favourite celebrity rag. "He just isn't a

People

magazine kind of guy," she says.

Manga was one of only two men in academia admitted to the ranks of America's dreamiest dudes. "That's why I agreed to do this," he explains.

"I wanted to get information out to people who wouldn't normally hear or see anything about science."

Although finding it amusing, Michael concedes he is teased about it. "The MacArthur is so much better," he says.

"The nice thing about being at Berkeley is that no one reads People, so no one knows about this yet. And that's the way it should be. It's kind of embarrassing in a way, because it's not how I perceive myself."

His father, who is of Indian origin, immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Manga was born in Hamilton and raised in Ottawa.