A Journal of Musical ThingsQueen's Brian May Might Finally Get a Chance to Use His PhD - A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on December 19th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

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Queen’s Brian May Might Finally Get a Chance to Use His PhD

Before Queen got rolling forty years ago, guitarist Brian May had serious academic aspirations.  After receiving his B.Sc (Hons) from Imperial College in London with majors in math and physics, he moved towards a PhD.  

Brian’s thing was space, astrophysics, specifically.  But while working on that PhD (his area of study was reflected light from interplanetary dust), Queen took off and he had to drop out.  

Years later, he went back to school, finally acquiring that PhD after a dissertation entitled A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.  In 2008, he was named Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores Univeristy, succeeding Cherie Blair, wife of ex-PM Tony Blair.

In 2008, an astreroid was named after him:  52665 Brianmay.  That was at the suggestion of Sir Patrick Moore, the host of a popular BBC science show called The Sky at Night.  With me so far?

Sir Patrick and Brian became good friends and even collaborated on a book entitled BANG!  May was invited to appeared on the 700th episode of The Sky at Night and had a very good time.

Sir Patrick began hosting The Sky at Night in 1957 and held the spot until he died December 9 at age 89. Now that the show needs a new host, there’s strong support from within the British academic community for Brian to take Sir Patrick’s place. 

It doesn’t hurt that Brian sort of looks like Sir Isaac Newton.  We’ll see what happens.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



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