Play and Game Studies – Before We Abandon The 17th Century – One of The Coolest Humans Ever (and one of his major sources of inspiration)

Posted: June 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


The Royal Observatory
Greenwich, England (1676)

As long as we’re entering the world of John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Christopher Wren; we may as well discuss guitarist/astronomer Brian May.


Queen star hands in science PhD
Friday, 3 August 2007
BBC News


Queen guitarist Brian May has handed in his astronomy PhD thesis – 36 years after abandoning it to join the band.


May recently carried out observational work in Tenerife, where he studied the formation of “zodiacal dust clouds”. The subject forms the basis of a 48,000-word thesis for Imperial College, London, where 60-year-old May studied before becoming a rock star. “It’s been the longest gap year ever,” May said. “It was a tough decision back then to leave my studies for music.”

(read more)


  1. branden frieden says:

    I really like this story because it really shows that you’re never too old to follow your dreams. And it kind of relates to what you were saying about Galileo being a “Rockstar” of his time.

    • Baxter is a great guitarist, no doubt. I have great love and respect for his music. But he never came close to being as hugely popular and influential as Brian May. May is not just a successful musician but one of the most important guitarists in the history of rock music. Few bands will ever rise to the stature of Queen, and no band after Queen could possibly afford to ignore them.

      As for May’s PhD, he had studies astrophysics as a young man. As Queen started to gain traction – largely due to May’s utterly unique sound – he found himself having to choose between his studies and touring the world as a musician. He did not initiate his astrophysics studies later in life, but simply returned to them to complete his degree.

  2. Sophia Skedros says:

    I agree with Branden, this story is amazing. People like Brian May and Jeff Baxter are truly gifted. To be highly talented in two completely different fields is impressive. Jeff showed how his music career and new missile defense position are related. Christopher Wren did the same thing with architecture and astronomy. I’m curious if Brian’s two passions were linked as well, or if he just wanted to pursue his love for both of them.

  3. A. Anderson says:

    I’m suprised by how recent many of the “old hits of the previous generation” are… I really need to pay more attention to the world. Anyway, this is an inpirational story all the same.

  4. Andrew Sedley says:

    I think one ironic thing that needs to be noted is their similarity in hair style! Though this was a popular style of the time for lots of bands, it stems from the same time period of intellectuals in the royal society. Perhaps there is some connection in the resurgence of some of their ideologies? Either way, Brian May is both an influential musician and scientist.

    • While it would be hard to claim Queen was not ironic, it still seems to me that May is dead earnest about his hair. A lot of bands did grow their hair out, but it wasn’t until the ’80s that rock bands began to tease and pile their hair. In this, May’s piled coif was still quite unique for the time, and clearly nodding in the direction of the 17th century. All the heraldry associated with the bands imagine is in clear reference to William and Mary of Orange, the Dutch King and Queen whose Glorious Revolution of 1688 marked an apex in British opulence and splendor. This same period was also the Age of Newton, greatest of all English astrophysics, something of which May would be entirely aware. While the world is full of coincidental resemblances, this one is clearly deliberate.

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