In the year 2005, it might be just about possible to remember a time when being called a "geek" was insulting. A time when wearing glasses, being interested in computers or being a little different came with a derogatory label. Maybe even now there are still some schoolyard jocks and bullies calling their brighter brethren "nerds" - but if so they are motivated more by fear than any feeling of superiority.

The simple fact is that these days, to paraphrase Gordon Gecko, "geek is good". As Neil Feineman points out in his new book Geek Chic (Thames & Hudson, pounds-12.95), geeks are the gatekeepers of the new global economy. Even Paris Hilton, Feineman reminds us, has called herself a "closet geek". That someone so plastic should seek to associate herself with the world's geeks says everything about the rise of this new meritocracy. Today it helps to be different, and the term is not so much an insult as an approbation. That's why over the next 19 pages we have decided to celebrate our favourite 50 geek gods and goddesses.

1. Woody Allen

New York's old dork


Techno titan How different would the modern world be without Steve Jobs? Apple's core member, after all, gave us the first truly personal computer back in the 1980s. Not that he invented it himself.

His partner Steve Wozniak slaved over the hardware, but Jobs, a utopian hippy visionary (albeit one possibly lacking in people skills) cajoled the original Macintosh team to "put a dent in the universe". Later he would see the potential in Pixar - makers of Monsters Inc and Toy Story - and so help create a Walt Disney for the computer age.

That said, Jobs's vision has at times been cloudy. After he was ousted from Apple in 1985 (visionaries can be pains in the ass in corporateland), he put his money into a new vision, Next - supposedly the ultimate workstation for scientists and scholars. You haven't heard of it? Well, that says everything.

His investment in Pixar looked dubious in the early years too - but he called that one right. In 1997 he went back to the fold at Apple as the company reinvented the concept of the personal computer as a lifestyle item.

They say: "Bill Gates sees the personal computer as a tool for transferring every stray dollar, Deutschmark and kopeck in the world into his pocket . . .

Steve Jobs sees the personal computer as his tool for changing the world" - Robert X Cringely, author of Accidental Empires.

Geek fact: The original Macintoshes did not include a fan because Jobs hated the sound they made.


Straight shooter While his fellow movie brat George Lucas has spent most of the past 30 years building an empire (taking in Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic), Steven Spielberg has remained true to his first love: making movies.

Of course, it's his gee-whizz enthusiasm that makes him so suspect to so many. That and what seems an essentially suburban outlook on the world. Or at least that's the shorthand version of the director, usually given out by critics who at the same time will fall over backwards to praise Martin Scorsese while overlooking the New York director's adolescent obsession with gangsters.

Spielberg is a more complex filmmaker than the York Notes version allows, and that complexity didn't start with Schindler's List. Take a look at his version of Empire of the Sun (an adaptation that JG Ballard, who wrote the original novel, has always defended), or the way Richard Dreyfuss's family life dissolves in the face of his character's obsession with aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Or witness his new movie War of the World: is this the first Hollywood blockbuster to question George W Bush's Iraq adventure?

Most importantly - like Scorsese - Spielberg has never lost his love of cinema. It's there in the hellzapopping, helter-skelter rollercoasters that are the Indiana Jones trilogy, and in that bravura extended opening section of Saving Private Ryan, perhaps Hollywood's most unnerving take on the notion that war is hell.

He says: "What I'm saying is that I believe in showmanship."

Geek fact: Spielberg is said to be worth in excess of dollars -2bn.


Vintage act Has there been a more pleasant cinematic surprise this year than Sideways? Alexander Payne's buddy movie showed there was still a place in American cinema for middle-aged, middle-class losers. Payne's loving yet honest film was hugely helped by Paul Giamatti's performance as the painfully neurotic wine-lover and wannabe novelist Miles.

Of course, Giamatti was already an expert in the field, as anyone who caught his performance as the eccentric cartoonist Harvey Pekar in the film American Splendour could testify to. Failure is not something he should ever have to worry about:

long an established character actor in the corner of many of your favourite films (and a few that nobody much cared for), he also has the lead role in M Night Shyamalan's next movie, Lady in the Water.

He says: "Am I really cool? You're telling me I'm cool? Well, that's good to hear."

Look out for: Giamatti training birds of prey in The Hawk is Dying, an adaptation of a story by the cult American novelist Harry Crews.


Couch potato If you require further proof of the rise of the geeks, consider the career of Simon Pegg. A former stand-up comedian and massive Star Wars fan, Pegg teamed up with Jessica Stevenson to write Spaced, a sitcom about a group of slacker mates sitting in front of the telly and playing computer games. It was a big enough success to allow him to make a movie, Shaun of the Dead, a "zom-rom-com" that featured a couple of slacker mates playing video games and watching the telly (and fighting the odd zombie). It proved to be an even bigger success. So now Pegg is godfather to Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple, and appearing as a zombie in George Romero's new Land of the Dead movie. Result.

He says: "I used to lie in bed in my flat and imagine what would happen if there was a zombie attack. In fact, Nick Frost [who also appears in Shaun of the Dead] and I used to plan our escape routes if it happened."

Look out for: A long mooted sitcom for Channel 4 called La Triviata, coming not desperately soon.

Clockwise from top left: Steve Jobs, the man at the core of Apple Computer;

Garbage goddess Shirley Manson, who's probably due another re-invention;

Chris Martin, who'll never do a Gap ad


FOER Paper boy Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer (rhymes with four) collects blank paper. Not just any blank paper, but blank paper culled from other writers. "I ask for the next piece of paper they were going to write on, " he says. Then he frames them.

When he was a child he used to wear bow ties, rings on every finger and even sequinned vests. His brother told him he was a "pre-adolescent Liberace".

Is that flamboyant enough for you?

No? Okay, he wrote his first novel, Everything is Illuminated - about the Holocaust: he's not one for small themes - when he was a 20-year-old philosophy undergraduate at Princeton. He got a dollars-500,000 advance for it, half of what he'd get for his recently published second novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (about September 11: did we mention he's not one for small themes? ) Just to keep his hand in, he has also written a libretto, commissioned by the German National Opera House in Berlin. He plays ping-pong and says he's a wimp.

He is 28 years old. What more do you need to know?

He says: "I have romantic ideas about the power of books in the world and that they can still influence the way people talk and the way people live.

I want what I do to be life-affirming."

Look out for: Seven Attempted Escapes from Silence, his libretto, opens in Berlin in September.


Gingers have more fun Shirley Manson is a proper pop star:

mouthy, ballsy and sexy (though not in a "wearing a bikini in a hip-hop video" way). The question is, in an age of tweenie sex kittens, do we want that any more? Garbage do seem a little - how can we put it - extraneous these days.

What seemed vital in the 1990s feels a little old-school in the 21st century.

Time, maybe, for a re-invention.

Manson is good at those. A one-time sales assistant in Miss Selfridge, prior to Garbage she played keyboards with Edinburgh underachievers Goodbye Mr McKenzie, before becoming lead singer of Angelfish (underachievers would probably be a compliment), which at least was enough to get her noticed by Butch Vig and his Garbage cohorts when they saw one of the band's videos.

Next up, we'd like to see Shirley the actress or maybe even Shirley the novelist. We suspect she could give Irvine Welsh a run for his money.

She says: "I've always hated my appearance."

Geek fact: She first met her Garbage bandmates on the day Kurt Cobain killed himself.


The odd couple Individually they have found fame as overgrown baby George Dawes in Shooting Stars and uptight perfectionist Jake Plaskow in Attachments, but together Matt Lucas and David Walliams are the brains behind the cultural phenomenon that is the comedy series Little Britain.

The pair met 15 years ago at the National Youth Theatre, reportedly bonding over their shared love of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. After going their separate ways, they reunited in 1995 to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. Little Britain started out as a Radio 4 show, with the pair transferring it to the small screen two years ago. Almost immediately it became cult viewing, with characters such as Lou and Andy, Vicky Pollard and Marjorie Dawes (any relation to George? ) striking a chord with viewers.

Neither looks like they've stepped out of a Calvin Klein ad. Walliams, 33, was born David Williams - "I had to change it for Equity" - and describes himself as "Six foot two and far too hairy." Lucas, 31, is rather more vertically challenged but the more distinctive-looking due to his tubby build and bald head (he had alopecia as a child).

Even so, neither is short of an admirer or two. While Lucas is openly gay, Walliams has been linked to almost every MAW (that's Model/Actress/Whatever) within a 5,000-mile radius.

They say: "With Little Britain, we wanted to make the world a better place."

Geek fact: Lucas had a cameo role in Blur's Country House video, and he and Walliams also appeared in the video for the Fat Les song Vindaloo.


He has a movie-star wife and a beautiful baby daughter, and he sings in one of the biggest bands in the world. What could Coldplay frontman Chris Martin have to worry about?

The world itself, it seems. Not content with being the next U2 or REM (or whoever the last great stadium band was), Martin has never been slow to exercise his conscience. A long-time supporter of Fair Trade, he's spent the summer doing his bit for Live8. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Coldplay - once written off by Oasis's former manager Alan McGee as a bunch of "bedwetters" - even managed to do what they do best:

release a new album, X&Y.

He says: "Shareholders are the great evil of this modern world. I'm not comfortable with the slavery that we are all under to shareholders . . . I don't really care about [his record label] EMI."

Geek fact: Coldplay have turned down approaches from Coca-Cola and Gap to use the band's music in their advertisements.


Sulky chic


Biting back Zadie Smith hits all the right buttons.

Young, attractive, black, talented: she is a publisher's marketing dream. One day she's a twenty-something unknown from Willesden in London, the next she's surrounded by Prada dresses for a magazine photoshoot.

Not that this ascension into the world of celebrity impressed her much. She couldn't imagine Martin Amis doing five-hour photoshoots, after all.

(Actually, we're not sure Prada would become Amis. Surely he's more a Paul Smith type. ) Anyway, she had a number of problems with her newfound fame, quite apart from the concentration on her looks. There was the fact she suddenly found herself a spokesperson for British cultural diversity, for a start. "I was expected to be some expert on multicultural affairs, " she has said of her early encounters with interviewers, "as if multiculturalism is a genre of fiction or something, whereas it's just a fact of life - like there are people of different races on the planet."

For the record, Smith's mother is Jamaican, her father English and her husband (the novelist and poet Nick Laird) Northern Irish. She has said she was a swotty child, and writing was always in the air. She was reading up on other writers' working practices when she was 18. It was while she was studying at Cambridge that she was given a six-figure book deal (a reported pounds-250,000) on the basis of an extract from her debut novel White Teeth ("perhaps the best novel ? we have ever read ? about contemporary London" according to the judges of the Whitbread prize; the work of a "precocious poser" according to one Z Smith). Martin Amis, by the way, believes she's "the real deal". He's not the only one.

She says: "I never attended a creative writing class in my life. I have a horror of them."

Look out for: On Beauty, Smith's third novel, to be published by Hamish Hamilton in September.


Praise him You want to make a funny music video.

Who you gonna call? Spike Jonze springs to mind. Born Adam Spiegel, Jonze made his name helming Beastie Boys and Bjoerk videos, though he may be best known as the leader of the spectacularly incompetent Torrance Community Dance Group seen "dancing" (if that's the right word) in the Fatboy Slim video Praise You, which he also directed.

Then again, if you're a Johnny Knoxville fan you may know him better as the co-creator of Jackass. Or perhaps you know him as Private Conrad Vig in the George Clooney Iraq-war movie Three Kings. Heat magazine fans might have him down as the alleged inspiration for Scarlett Johansson's geeky, useless husband in Lost in Translation (director Sofia Coppola is his ex-wife; very ex, if Lost in Translation is to be believed). Oh yes, and he's also directed a couple of movies himself - Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, both written by Charlie Kaufman. And we haven't mentioned his skateboard company or his sideline in directing commercials - he made the recent, wonderfully surreal Adidas commercial, the one with the bear.

Who is Spike Jonze? Who knows?

He's big on aliases but not interviews.

No matter. We like him anyway.

They say: "He is the contemporary artist. What he does is much more valid than so much that's going on in galleries now" - photographer David LaChappelle on Jonze's videos.

Look out for: Jonze is lined up to direct an adaptation of the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, with a script written by Dave Eggers.


Pure dead brilliant Despite the fact he died a quarter of a century ago - hanging himself in his kitchen just days before his band Joy Division began their first American tour - the 21st century is shaping up to be a good one for the late, much lamented singer. He's already been central to one film (Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People), and now rock photographer Anton Corbijn is making his big-screen directorial debut with an adaptation of Touching from a Distance, a memoir written by Curtis's daughter Deborah. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that the intensity of Curtis's performances (on occasion he suffered epileptic seizures on stage), his glacial lyrics and the steely glitter of his music is inspiring a whole new generation of musicians including the likes of the Killers and Interpol.

They said: "I'd much rather he'd gone off, got really big, lived somewhere else and even gone away from me rather than what did happen. He was very, very talented" - his widow, Deborah.

Look out for: Jude Law playing Curtis in the new movie? The actor's name keeps coming up in connection with the role, though we can't really see it.


Thinking women's crumpet Reporter, columnist, editor, broadcaster, author ? is there anything Andrew Marr cannot do? The former BBC political editor might carp about his time as editor of the Independent (of the qualities needed for the job, in retrospect he gave himself four out of ten), but the Glaswegian has failed at little else. Presumably that's why the BBC has decided he can replace Sir David Frost on the flagship Sunday morning television slot.

In his spare time - alien though that concept might appear for someone who never seems to be off our televisions and radios or out of the papers - he paints (though he says he's "not much good"), jogs (19 miles, three times a week), makes cameo appearances in Dr Who and attracts the attention of a surprising number of female listeners and viewers. He's also a father of three.

Is there anything Andrew Marr cannot do? By the sounds of it, no.

He says: "I'm not ultra-ambitious. I don't want to earn lots of money or have a fancy title. But I do loathe boredom."

Look out for: Andrew Marr on BBC1 on Sunday mornings in the autumn.


Office boy The hollow-eyed star of The Office is no stranger to Hollywood these days.

He's good mates with Christian Slater - the pair starred together in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in London's West End earlier this year, and for a while seemed joined at the hip - and is on the cast list for the two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Then there are roles in the forthcoming flicks Land of the Blind and The Brothers Grimm, plus the ITV2 series Monkey Trousers.

It's not bad going considering that before he was cast as Gareth in The Office, Crook, 33 - whose birth name was Paul rather than Mackenzie - worked at Pizza Hut, in a chicken factory and in several hospitals. He also did stand-up comedy for a decade.

They say: "The best character comedian around" - fellow funnyman Bob Mortimer.

Geek fact: Crook's house in Muswell Hill, North London, was once owned by Peter Sellers.


N*E*R*D's chief nerd Just a couple of years ago, the cultural critic Kodwo Eshun defined a new archetype emerging from the shadows of hip-hop: "The black nerd, the hypersmart and proud-of-it AfricanAmerican geek." He described men (and women) who didn't buy into the schoolyard machismo of the playa/thug so prevalent in black popular culture, and who loved science fiction and comic books.

In short, he described Pharrell Williams. One-half of production duo the Neptunes, and one-third of funk/ rock outfit N*E*R*D (it means No-One Ever Really Dies, but the acronym speaks for itself ), Williams has worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Jay-Z; Gwen Stefani to Kelis. He even helped make Justin Timberlake a bonafide pop star. He's been around long enough now that he might not be the coolest name to drop any more (that honour probably goes to Rich Harrison, the force behind Just One Thing by Amerie), but it's hard to think of anyone else who has done more to sketch out the sonic possibilities of contemporary pop music.

As if that wasn't enough, Williams has set up his own record label and clothing company, designed trainers with the Japanese artist Nigo and addressed the Oxford Union.

He says: "I don't mind being called a nerd. We are the people who are proud of being smart, being witty and being clever when everyone else doesn't understand."

Geek fact: Williams met his Neptunes partner Chad Hugo when he was 12, at a summer camp for gifted children near his home town of Virginia Beach.


Love's a bind Sex is always a problem, don't you think? Especially in the movies. How can you deal with something so basic, so fundamental yet so personal without slipping into exploitation - or, worse, boring your audience?

Ask Maggie Gyllenhaal. Cast in the role of a self-harming woman just released from a mental institution who enters into a rather outre relationship with her new boss (James Spader), Gyllenhaal took what could have been a dangerous role for a young actress and turned it into gold. Even the Daily Telegraph was moved to describe Secretary as "the sweetest ever film about sado-masochism".

The 27-year-old actress was aware of how wrong things could have gone on the film. "There was always a risk, " she said when it came out last year. "It could have ended up as a sex romp, with the male fantasy of a woman who likes being submissive." Instead, she spent hours talking it through with the director, Steven Shainberg, before filming started. He could hardly refuse - Kate Hudson, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon had already turned down the part. Yet Gyllenhaal, a Columbia graduate with a degree in English and Eastern Religions, turned it into a breakthrough role.

Since then she's appeared in Criminal, alongside Diego Luna and Scotland's own Peter Mullan, and in numerous fashion shoots (last autumn she was the face of Miu Miu).

She said: "I find myself much more sexy than I did when I was 22, partly because I'm so much more in command than I was then."

Look out for: Happy Endings, a new comedy-drama which sees Gyllenhaal on screen alongside Lisa Kudrow and Steve Coogan.


Paranoid android It has been suggested (in this very newspaper) that Thom Yorke's band Radiohead shaped "the sound of early Travis" and that without them "there would have been no Coldplay". But let's not hold that against him. When Radiohead first appeared in the early nineties, the reigning pop archetype was the "mad-for-it Mancunian", as typified by the Happy Mondays. Yorke - middle-class, intellectual, from the unlikely pop surroundings of Oxford - must have felt so out of place. But then he always has. A paralysed left eye marked him out physically, and his parents' constant moving marked him out psychologically. He spent his youth being bullied and feeling alienated. Perfect fuel for life as a serious rock star.

Radiohead have always stood out from the pack - willfully adventurous, unwilling to follow the obvious route - and Yorke, small, insecure and intense, embodies their tensions and possibilities. After the success of their album The Bends, the band could have chased the tail of U2 and other stadium rockers, but instead they opted for a more circuitous route through a series of adventurous albums to become the new Pink Floyd. You decide which is the worse fate.

He says: "Us on hard drugs? That would be horrible. We'd probably end up sounding like Bryan Adams."

Look out for: Radiohead's seventh album, due next year.


Lancashire hotpot Some might see him as Wallace (of Wallace and Gromit) personified - big nose, sticky-out ears and perma-grin - but that's a little short-sighted. This, after all, is the man who breathed new life into Doctor Who and was almost picture-perfect in Shallow Grave, Elizabeth and 28 Days Later.

The 41-year-old has moved on to pastures new after just one series as the time-travelling doctor. And there's no hanging about where this guy's concerned. The actor, whose roots lie in Salford, Lancashire, has already signed up to star in a low-budget British film, the romantic comedy Double Life. It will be directed by Joe Ahearne, who also shot two episodes of Dr Who. Eccleston was also rumoured to have been offered the part of Silas, the albino monk in forthcoming movie adaptation of Da Vinci Code, though the role has since gone to Paul Bettany. Still, he's unlikely to be short of options.

He says: "I think I'm seen as a grumpy old sod, because I've played a lot of people who are troubled."

Geek fact: Eccleston was the first Doctor Who to be born after the show's first airing in November 1963.


Sunny side up At the age of 27, Josh Schwartz became the youngest creative producer of a network drama in the US. That show, The OC - Beverly Hills 90210 meets Dawson's Creek but with more sunshine and more beautiful stars - became an instant hit when it aired two years ago, pulling in ten million viewers across America. The Bush daughters are reportedly huge fans.

OC stands for Orange County, a super rich, Republican region of southern California where money appears to grow on palm trees. The unlikely hero of the show is Seth Cohen (played by Adam Brody; see geek number 41), a gawky-looking, wise-cracking Jewish teenager - not unlike a young Schwartz, who readily admits there are parallels.

When Schwartz, now 28, was growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, he was more likely to be found in his room reading comic books or listening to music than outside playing with other kids. After high school he switched coasts to study film at the University of Southern California and found himself immersed in a world where "people looked like they were out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue". Little wonder, then, that he has plenty of material for OC scripts - not least the abundance of tongue-incheek references to his personal nemesis, the water-polo team. He is now working on a new show, Athens, set in a New England college town, and has at least one other as-yetuntitled project in the pipeline.

He said: "Everybody is so damn goodlooking in Los Angeles. I'm not saying people in Rhode Island are unsightly, by any means, but you come to LA and it's shocking."

Geek fact: Both of Schwartz's parents are toy inventors. His father was involved in the creation of My Little Pony.


Rich kid Bill Gates is the world's richest man.

Think about that for a moment. The world's richest man. All because he was really into computers as a teenager. Is there a stronger case for the notion that the geeks have taken over? Thanks to the global domination of his company Microsoft, Gates is worth in excess of dollars-100bn. He has also become one of the biggest charity donors in the world. Not bad for a Harvard college drop-out.

They say: "He is no visionary; he is a technology groupie with a genius for showing up, for being at the right place at the right time" - Time Magazine.

Geek fact: Gates sold his first software when he was 17: a timetabling programme for his school. He earned dollars -4,200 for his efforts.

22 JEM

Clown jewel


Groovy fella

24 EWAN BIRNEY Gene genius In Dr Ewan Birney's world, last year was the year of the chicken. "This year, " he adds, "is quite possibly going to be the year of the opossum."

Or rather the opossum genome.

Birney, whose title at the European Bioinformatics Institute is "head of genome annotation", is one of the scientists trying to decipher the DNA sequence of humans and a range of other animals with which, he says, we have a lot in common - genetically, at least. "We share an awful lot of information with mice and fruit flies, and indeed a fair amount with plants." That would explain a few things about Jodie Marsh.

It's a big job he and his colleagues are taking on. The human genome, he says, contains "about the same information as 200 London phone books. It's a huge amount of information but it's effectively in a very foreign and difficult language.

What my group tries to do is interpret the information and translate it, and we put all that information up on the web free for anybody on the planet to use."

The translation, he reckons, is pretty much done. "But the interpretation is going to take at least a century, we think." Science, he points out, is more a marathon than a sprint.

Birney, 32, who's gone through Eton, Oxford and Cambridge and spent a summer working in the city ("I'm posh any way you cut me, basically"), is not the white-coated, bespectacled scientific cliche of the popular imagination. His pencils, he says, are not all lined up on a row on his desk. "I am possibly one of the messiest guys on the planet." Science is not about fitting in: it's about breaking out. "You have to think differently from the way everyone was thinking ten years ago. You want to get some new insights, and you're not going to get that by thinking the same way a whole bunch of other people did."

He worries about how the public see scientists, citing the GM crops row and the rise of creationists. "There's this kind of sci-fi way of portraying science as the dark side, " he says. And that's fine, "as long as people remember there's Luke Skywalkers as well as Darth Vaders in science."



The appliance of science Neil Hall is a scientist with a social conscience. Part of the Cambridge-based team that sequenced the genome of the malaria parasite three years ago, he now hopes to use these findings to combat a range of infectious diseases across the developing world. Sound impressive? It is. But we'll let him explain.

"All the information about any living organism is contained in its DNA in genetic code, " says Hall. "What we did was read all of those letters across the genome and, by doing so, were able to work out all the different biochemical pathways it has to produce energy and also all of the processes it uses to invade human cells." This discovery meant they were able to look at possible ways in which to kill the parasite using drugs.

"Although it wasn't a cure for malaria, what we have is a blueprint to be able to design a vaccine in the future, " says Hall.

Based at the Institute for Genomic Research near Washington DC, the scientist is focusing on using genomes for diagnostic purposes. This could help in developing vaccines for such diseases as malaria and African sleeping sickness.

But it's not always been easy. The 34year-old from Nottingham suffers from dyslexia and felt he was "pushed" towards science at school. "I regret the amount of time I didn't spend learning French or reading Shakespeare, " he says.

At university, he toyed with the idea of going into politics, but the lure of the microscope proved greater.

Hall likes the idea of being considered a geek god. "I looked up 'geek' on Google and it said something about being 'intelligent but socially inept', " he says. "There is definitely something recently where being geeky is being seen as a good thing;

that those who are driven by the sciences are contributing something to society, rather than simply being work-obsessed nerds. Besides, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are both geeks."

He credits his wife Natasha, a primaryschool teacher, for ensuring he doesn't veer too far towards geekdom. "It's much easier not being married to a fellow scientist, " he says. "My wife always boasts she stops me looking like a geek by buying me all my clothes."