Imperial College London

Alter ego: Professor Martin McCall


Photo: Adrian Weinbrecht

Theoretical physicist Martin McCall puts in some out-of-hours fancy footwork on the dance floor.

By day, Professor Martin McCall (Physics 1983) bends light around space and time, deriving equations that hide objects and events in Harry Potteresque fashion. Two nights a week however, the theoretical optical physicist shrugs off his academic mantle, dons a smooth-soled pair of shoes and sets out for the dance floor.

Martin’s wife Estralita first encouraged him to join a Ceroc class with her eight years ago. He confides: “when I started I had two left feet, and was at least as nervous as when I gave my recent inaugural lecture”. Time spent practising this fusion of jive and salsa has clearly not been wasted, as he fluently leads and spins Estralita around campus for this photoshoot.

“Dancing gives me a refreshingly different way of socialising with people,” says Martin. “The only connection with physics is that I choreograph my work trips to coincide with dancing events whenever possible.” One of his main collaborators works in New Zealand, where the local Ceroc teacher reserves a music track for the student who has travelled furthest to be at her class. With 12,000 miles under his belt, Martin can be confident that she will save the last dance for him.

Photo credit: Adrian Weinbrecht

This article first appeared in Imperial Magazine, Issue 36. You can view and download a whole copy of the magazine, from


Natasha Martineau

Natasha Martineau

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