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Music Media Science

Brian May, Rock Legend, Publishes His Thesis 198

Posted by kdawson
from the eyes-just-like-a-laser-beam dept.
A year ago we took note when Brian May, guitarist for Queen for the last 30 years, submitted his thesis for a Ph.D. in astrophysics. The news now is that the thesis has been published. You, too, can read all about the population of tiny asteroids and space dust that cause the Zodiacal light. The completed thesis appears as the book "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" (Springer and Canopus Publishing Ltd., 2008), available at Amazon for $71.96. May was awarded his Ph.D. last summer and accepted a position as chancellor at a British university in November.
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Brian May, Rock Legend, Publishes His Thesis

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  • Re:Rock music (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xenocide2 (231786) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @05:51PM (#24451323) Homepage

    Maybe. I'd heard calls to make scientists into rockstars, but never rockstars into scientists!

  • by szyzyg (7313) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @06:41PM (#24451571)

    I moved from Ireland to California to work at a company called and later moved to Napster. Now I'm at

    I still entertain some deep down belief that one day I might return to astrophysics and submit my thesis, maybe if one of these internet music companies finally make me some money.

    (of course, even if I stopped work tomorrow I now have young kids to take care of...)

  • Beyond impressed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pheidias (141114) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @06:48PM (#24451599) Homepage

    To an opera singer who is wading into comp. sci. / AI / brain science (and rapidly getting submerged, I must admit), this is rather inspiring.

    Come on, Neil Peart! Don't let the guitarists get all the PhD's!

  • Re:Too pricey (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2008 @06:48PM (#24451601)

    Yeah, but it didn't that 35 years!

    Actually I went to his Imperial College lecture on the subject, and he was well into it.

    Sadly not being a physicist I was initially more interested in that he was using Powerpoint on a Macbook Pro to present the material. But it all looked good, graphs and explanation were all there.

    Glad the guy could finish the PhD he started way back then!

  • w00t! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Saturday August 02, 2008 @07:06PM (#24451709)

    He's the chancellor for MY university [].
    Sadly, it's the only good thing I can say about said university, but as a massive Queen fan, that's good enough for me!

  • Re:Too pricey (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <> on Saturday August 02, 2008 @08:56PM (#24452385) Homepage Journal

    That's cold, perhaps you should have considered using the CCD CopyWrite [], instead?

  • Re:My opinion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday August 02, 2008 @10:07PM (#24452783) Homepage

    It's very easy to make the case for May being "unsung"

    -First and foremost, Queen is arguably the most successful and ignored band in the United States. Yes, they own the Rock Anthem chart and "we are the champions" is played to death at every major sporting event (C'mon, can't they try "February stars" by the Foo Fighters at the super bowl? just once? ), but in terms of album sales? Queen is so far down the list it's pathetic. Their worldwide sales were disproportionate to their US sales from 1975-ish on. Once glam rock died out, Queen all but disappeared from US charts. From about 84 on they still ruled the rock charts in Europe, but they never toured the US after 1982. As the "Home of rock and roll", i'd say that says something.

    -Solo success. I own Brian May's first post-queen solo album and I'm probably one of the 15 people in the US that does. He's a helluva guitar player (especially considering he and his father *built* his trademark guitar from a discarded fireplace mantle) but if you ask people to name the ten greatest guitar players of all time, I'd bet huge....tracts of land that you probably wouldn't get close to hearing his name. There are plenty of other "name" guitarists out there. He just doesn't have the cult of personality that Clapton, Page, Vaughn or Hendrix have. Heck, He doesn't have the following of Satriani or even Yngwie.

    He's one of the greats, but he's definitely not one of the best known. You've really got to know your guitar Gods to throw May's name out there.

  • Re:Too pricey (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2008 @10:35PM (#24453005)

    And this my friends, is the part of the reason why nobody in his right mind busts his hump to participate in science/engineering/mathematical scholarship--and why we have way too many lawyers.

    With very, very few exceptions, you really would have to be at least a little psychotic to want to become an engineer, chemist, physicist, etc. given: the rewards most people reap in these fields of study, the expenditure of money, time and the discipline required to reach competency in your own little niche.

    Yeah, this dude had to pay $200+ and $60, to get further raped in the wallet. You'd think that after paying a fuckton--er going into debt by about another bazillion bumfucking Benjamins, that they'd have the goddamn courtesy to at least give you a free fucking copy of your own dissertation, which in a just and sane universe, could do nothing but remain your own property...

    Have you ever noticed that most people with a Ph.D. in a natural science, engineering or mathematical field tend to be a little off balance (or a lot)? Even since the ancient times, philosophers in every culture with surviving writings have likened the human emotion love to psychotic behavior. Modern science, through the technology of looking into the human mind, has verified this long held, if casual presupposition. One would have to love something very much indeed, to go through the trials and tribulations our Ph.D. friends volunteered for.

    Guess they were just a little bit too crazy--or stupid--to become a chiropractor or psychiatrist, or prostitute.

  • Re:My opinion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Freultwah (739055) on Sunday August 03, 2008 @03:49AM (#24454433) Homepage
    I've seen him standing next to Vai on stage and play a song of Vai's, together with the soloing. He did not miss a note.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2008 @04:44AM (#24454621)

    Supposedly he looked into what had been done since he started his thesis work, realized that not much had been done and that his work was still new and relevant so he finished and submitted the thesis.

"Thank heaven for startups; without them we'd never have any advances." -- Seymour Cray