After working on ''The Wonder Years'' Danica McKellar makes a name for herself in college

By Susan Karlin
Updated March 19, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Danica McKellar used to play Winnie Cooper, Fred Savage’s childhood love interest on The Wonder Years. Now she could star in a remake of Good Will Hunting, and she wouldn’t have to act. McKellar, 24, is an honest-to-goodness math whiz, and the UCLA grad has earned what might be dubbed the Oscar of the numbers game: her own theorem. McKellar recently had a paper published in Britain’s Journal of Physics A: Mathematics & General after she — along with UCLA professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn — provided mathematical proof for a theorem dealing with magnetism in two dimensions. It’s now informally called the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem. ”We didn’t know if it was going to be true,” says McKellar. ”Sometimes we’d work all day and, at the end, find a flaw in the logic.” McKellar — currently starring as Rizzo in Grease at the Grove Theatre in Upland, Calif. — has even found a way to combine her first career with her new one. She writes a math-advice column on the Celebrity Sightings website and is putting together an educational CD-ROM series. ”I love math and helping kids,” she says. ”[The column] is a kind of gift to my fans.”