Scientists discover what may have made Stephen Hawking - and Lily Cole - so intelligent. They are all renowned for their intelligence and academic achievements. Now scientists may have discovered what made the likes of Stephen Hawking, Alexander Fleming, Marie Curie, Stephen Fry and Lily Cole such model pupils - their blue eyes. New research has revealed that blue-eyed individuals may study more effectively and perform better in exams than those with dark eyes. In reaction time trials conducted by American scientists, brown-eyed people performed better, making them more likely to succeed in activities such as football, hockey and rugby. But the researchers concluded that people with lighter eyes were better strategic thinkers. Blue-eyed boys and girls proved to be more successful in activities that required them to plan and structure their own time, such as golf, cross-country running - and studying for exams. It could explain why so many of our most academic high-flyers have blue eyes. Stephen Hawking, the author of A Brief History Of Time, is Britain's most eminent physicist. Biologist Alexander Fleming famously discovered penicillin and Marie Curie was the first twice-honoured Nobel laureate for her pioneering work on radioactivity. Writer and actor Stephen Fry is notoriously brainy, gaining a scholarship to Cambridge, and model Lily Cole recently secured a place at King's College, Cambridge, to read social and political sciences after achieving five As at A-level. It could also help to explain why many of our top footballers and rugby players, including John Terry and Jonny Wilkinson, are brown-eyed. Joanna Rowe, professor emeritus at the University of Louisville, who conducted the tests, said the results suggested a hitherto unexplored link between eye colour and academic achievement. "It is just observed, rather than explained," she said. "There's no scientific answer yet." Dr Tony Fallone, senior psychology lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire, who has also studied the genetics of eye colour, believes that it should be taken more seriously as an indicator of traits.