Join 3,434 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Hot Space
July 26, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

B. H. May, CBE, as an astronomy student at Imperial College London co-authored two papers, MgI Emission in the Night Sky Spectrum and An Investigation of the Motion of Zodiacal Dust Particles (pdf) and was on the way to completing his doctorate when he dropped out to form a band. After a 36-year break May went back to school to get his PhD. Last year he co-authored Bang! the Complete History of the Universe. This year he is finishing up his thesis-"Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" and this week is in La Palma finishing spectographic observations. Mr May also plays guitar.
posted by MtDewd (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Queen. The answer is Queen.
posted by gurple at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2007


Oh. It's a tag. I'm an idiot.

I share a last name with this guy. One more May that's higher up than me in a Google search.
posted by gurple at 12:31 PM on July 26, 2007


He and his pops also build a hell of a guitar...
posted by stenseng at 12:56 PM on July 26, 2007


An interesting bunch, those lads. Freddie Mercury (née Farrokh Bulsara) earned a degree in Art and Graphic design (which he put to good use, creating the band's crest), Roger Taylor was a dental student and John Deacon received a First Class Honours Degree in electronics.*.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2007


BTW -- LOGO TV has been airing an interesting documentary with commentary by May et al: Freddie Mercury: Magic Remixed.
posted by ericb at 1:03 PM on July 26, 2007


An Investigation of the Motion of Zodiacal Dust Particles would make a great title for a prog rock record...
posted by Skygazer at 1:04 PM on July 26, 2007


Geez. Brian May has a doctorate in Astronomy, Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has a doctorate in Evolutionary Paelontology.

Next we'll find out that Vince Neil actually has a degree in particle physics or something, and he's been hiding it to appear as more of a low-grade grunt....
posted by mephron at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2007


wow. anyone know if publishing in nature was as big a deal in 1972 as it is today? if so, that's pretty impressive. (for the non scientists in the crowd, science and nature are the two journals at the very pinnacle of the shitheap. they accept papers from pretty much any discipline, and only ~10 per issue, so the competition is truly fierce.)
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2007


Next we'll find out that Vince Neil actually has a degree in particle physics or something...

Kris Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford and was about to start as an English Literature professor at West Point when he was discovered for his songwriting and music composition skills.

While not a professional musician Dolph Lundgren [after graduating from Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and receving a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney] was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T., but quit after two-weeks to start acting.
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2007


Don't forget Professor Buckaroo Banzai Robocop (Peter Weller) of Syracuse University!
posted by zoogleplex at 1:33 PM on July 26, 2007


And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh, hang on.
posted by athenian at 1:36 PM on July 26, 2007


Phil Alvin of The Blasters holds a PhD from UCLA. I believe it's in mathematics.
posted by LinnTate at 1:37 PM on July 26, 2007


BTW -- this previous AskMeta thread has interesting examples of "celebrities with brains."
posted by ericb at 1:45 PM on July 26, 2007


Oh -- and MeFite alby made a poster -- Celebrity Scientists -- derived from the thread's answers.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on July 26, 2007


Oh, I do so love that there are physics geeks who can rock the guitar.
posted by grubi at 1:55 PM on July 26, 2007


While not a professional musician Dolph Lundgren [after graduating from Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and receving a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney] was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T., but quit after two-weeks to start acting.


Cut scene from Rocky III


Manager: "Whatever Draco hits, he destroys!"

Rocky: "How? By dissolving the covalent bonds?"

Draco: "No. Common misunderstanding. Ionic bonds dissolve. Usually with metals. Iron has a high capacity for dissolving oxygen gas, for instance. But covalent do not usually "dissolve" in the common sense of the word."

Rocky: "Oh. Like the Gibbs free energy of dissociation kind of deal?"

Draco: "Precisely."

[ SOUND of Ringside Bell: KLANG! KLANG!]

Ref: "Okay is this a boxing match or symposium on molecular chemistry!? Let's get this fight started!"
posted by tkchrist at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


Strange, what happened to this Wikipedia entry from the AskMeta thread then?
posted by Duug at 2:25 PM on July 26, 2007


I've always felt that Brian May was godlike. This just helps to cement that opinion.

And if memory serves, Dolph Lundgren speaks something like five languages as well.
posted by quin at 2:42 PM on July 26, 2007


I was actually at a conference only a few weeks back hosted by Imperial College. Brian May gave a talk (actually, he sat next to me for a few of the other talks), and he was really quite impressive. It was a great talk and he knows his stuff alright. OK, he's had a bit more practice at performing than most PhD students, but it was fascinating stuff.

Oh and since La Palma has come up, worth a link back to a very recent thread?
posted by edd at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2007


Interesting, my uni (University of Hertfordshire), gave him an honoury doctorate a few years ago, theres a grant in his name for masters/phd students.
posted by chrispy108 at 4:24 PM on July 26, 2007


Fact: many, many highly intelligent people also play instruments well. That correlation is one to ponder.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:03 AM on July 27, 2007


Exeter gave him an honorary DSc (one up from a PhD) a couple of weeks ago.
posted by biffa at 2:14 AM on July 27, 2007


Fact: many, many highly intelligent people also play instruments well. That correlation is one to ponder.
The VU's Sterling Morrison eventually earned a Ph.D. in English from UT-Austin, although it took him 16 years to do it. I think the degree was conferred in 1986, but the length of time he took to write his dissertation presumably cost him the academic career he so clearly wanted.

On the other hand, I can think of six New Zealand indie musicians (all front-men, oddly enough) from well-known bands active in the '80s and '90s who have (or are about to get) Ph.D.s. Three of those guys are now academics. I'm sure there's some Ph.D. candidate out there somewhere drafting a diss. on the links between academia and (indie) rock. (And if there isn't, there should be.)
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:28 PM on July 27, 2007


Don't forget Professor Buckaroo Banzai Robocop (Peter Weller) of Syracuse University!

Wired in February said that Weller now is working on getting his Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance art history from UCLA.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2007


« Older Abandoned places: A satellite facility. A drag str...  |  Burmese artist Htein Lin... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments