TIL Brian May's dad helped him build his famous guitar, but was upset when Brian abandoned his PhD program to join Queen. Brian went on to write "We Will Rock You", "Fat Bottomed Girls"—and eventually "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud", the thesis he finished 36 years later.

TIL Brian May's dad helped him build his famous guitar, but was upset when Brian abandoned his Ph...

"A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" never made the charts.

So you're saying that Fat Bottomed Girls' observations about the contribution of fat bottomed girls to the rotation of the Earth was written by an astrophysicist?

Also, to make the story even more bittersweet, when they played Madison Square in '77 he flew his father and mother out to see the show. At the time, his father and him weren't on the most amicable terms due to May's decision to pursue a music career. After the show, his father came up to him, shook his hand, and said "Okay, Son. I get it now."

Edit: Some people find it hard to believe Howard May held a grudge against Brian for so long. I highly suggest reading this article. It goes into a bit more why May's father was upset.

"I only listen to real music."

Just here to say that website is excellent. I'm tired of being linked to outrageously bloated sites that take 10s of seconds to load on mobile, and freeze up when you try to scroll past the innumerable ads.

I don't believe it. He has a PhD in physics? Yeah, right. What are you gonna tell me next-Steve Buscemi was a firefighter during 9/11?

That's cool that his dad came around, and relatively early in Queen's career too!

Yea, not like he was playing in MSG or anything.

I'll never hear the song the same way again.

He's terrific on Top Gear as well.

Sounds like a progressive rock song for sure. 50 minutes long. Divided into 5 movements.

You might be interested in Assembly Bias Rap- it's on clyp and you can find it under #interpretivenudes

He flew them out on the Concorde and put them up at the Ritz hotel. His dad worked on the landing system of the Concorde as an engineer but couldn't afford to fly on it.


You've got to be kidding me. What's next, Mark Walhburg assaulted an immigrant during the 80s?

You may be thinking of the wrong may

It's mostly plain text.. it's the opposite end of the spectrum.

There is a middle ground. With animations and images and colors that work cohesively with the content and don't feel bloated or "in the way". Reddit does this well. There is such a thing as a non-intrusive advertisement that doesn't get in the way of or take attention away from the content, but is still visible and provides an income source for the website. Google does this well.

You're so used to seeing sites like facebook or buzzfeed where everything is "in your face" that you've forgotten how those animations can actually work in tandem with the content to provide a good experience. The solution isn't to remove them all and make a plaintext website, the solution is to make actually good web design.

I got to meet Brian after a gig in Glasgow not long after he published this. I was studying Physics at Edinburgh at the time and decided i wouldn't fan boy...So decided to talk to him about this. I think he was kinda grateful that i wasn't just asking the same old questions he always gets

It was brief but I'll always remember that day :)

That would have been one tasty concert.

Could be the dad didn't see music as a proper career despite the money. But seeing the passion etc at the concert changed his mind.

After the show, his father came up to him, shook his hand, and said "Okay, Son. I get it now."

Thank you for that. I was wondering that, after reading the original article where it said that his father wasn't happy about him ditching his studies for music......and then later on in the article it mentioned that his dad had passed away.

His thesis is behind a paywall but here's the link anyway: http://www.springer.com/gb/book/9780387777054

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=af1X6iX0iCEC&oi=fnd&pg=PR2&dq=a+survey+of+radial+velocities+in+the+zodiacal&ots=WfdC_w4XfM&sig=SJcDCdFq-DqxrvPbgtT0cGl_Xf8#v=onepage&q=a%20survey%20of%20radial%20velocities%20in%20the%20zodiacal&f=false There is also a PDF link.

The front man of Bad religion also has a PhD...


Don't know about that, but is about the implications of travelling at near light speed.

Wait till you learn about the time Mr Rogers convinced Congress to fund his show!

"A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud"

sounds like a Pink Floyd song.

It's a motherfucking website.

I'll never see the Earth the same way again.

Oh my effing God. No way. This is hardly as believable as when someone told me the lead singer from foo fighters was in Nirvana.

Fuck me. I could barely make sense of the abstract.

I wish we didn't have to result to piracy just to access someone's thesis.

Strong title game, OP.

Ha, that's a great headline OP. Before I saw it was his thesis, I thought "wow that song about radial velocities sounds trippy as hell I'd love to hear that."

He was still pissed in 1977? They were massive by 1977, probably raking in unimaginable sums of money for Bohemian Rhapsody alone, and his dad was still upset with him? I call bollocks.

You would just want more Queen 30min later though.

Is there a copy of his PhD thesis?

You can download it free here

(Note: this site may not be legal in some places)

But all those poor broke universities...

I'll never look at a girl's fat bottom the same way again.

Better motherfucking website.

"A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" never made the charts.

It was a blatant rip-off of a Stereolab song.

Sure, next you'll be telling me he wasn't terrific paired with Mike Nichols.

Wow, you made me wiki him cause it blew my mind. And I see that he's a licensed airline transport pilot, a certified flight instructor, wrote a paper on how HIV evades immune response, does charity work to help use DNA testing prove innocents of previously convicted men, all while being the front man of my favorite band back in the day - the dude is pretty awesome.

I'm sure he will too. I did a similar thing when I met Neil Gaiman. Granted that meeting was more for my girlfriend at the time. Having not read any of his works I also didn't have much room to talk, but still wanted to talk to him. So I brought an episode of Arthur he was on 20+ years ago. He laughed, gave me a smile and said he remembered it. I know it was a long night for him (I think the signing started around 4pm if not earlier and lasted until about 4am) but I'm sure it was nice to have someone talk to him about something that he isn't always being asked.

Fat, indeed, creates gravity.

The Reddit Journal of Science: where people review papers based on the title and the first sentence of the abstract, and then level uninformed criticism based on personal anecdotes.

Also, mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists already freely share their papers on arXiv, and we keep them updated even after publication. For example, here's a paper by Brian May.

I get most of the papers I need directly from arXiv, and rarely have to use my university's journal subscriptions unless it's an older pre-arXiv paper.

It was for a different time, a more intellectual time

The singer from the offspring has a PhD in molecular biology

The title is enough for me!

When you submit a paper to be published the author doesn't even keep copyright! The journal gets the copyright and charges people to read it. They even send you an email asking if you'd like to buy some copies.

The scientific community needs to be brought into the modern age, with a Reddit type system instead of relying on peer review and citations ok ok, but seriously, we're still publishing papers like we did 200 years ago, we've just digitised it as PDFs now instead of making them more.. err.. I don't even know what the answer is, I just feel like scientific authors are being taken for a ride by the publishers.

It's better to read the intro, cause abstracts assume you already know some stuff.

My guess is the dad wanted to bury the hatchet, regardless and saw that as the best opportunity. He just wanted the best for his son, really.

In Dad's defense. No way he could've known how successful a music career would be. To throw away a "sure bet" (PHD) for a gamble with really bad odds makes us dads nervous.

Brian May is definitely one of the people I'd put down on my "if you could have a conversation with anyone" list.

Dude, he'd have been more likely to be in Tenacious D than Nirvana.

Holy fuck dude he can grant wishes too???

This has become a big issue in science and academia. Before the internet, journals performed a valuable service by organizing peer review and publishing articles. Now they aren't needed at all, they're just parasites collecting money for doing practically nothing. They charge money to the authors of the papers and then also charge to read the papers. But everyone still needs journal publications to advance their careers so it's hard to break the cycle.

Arxiv is great but it's only used in certain fields. Last year a site called Sci-Hub made big news by illegally sharing millions of journal articles. It's still up so that's pretty cool. There are a couple papers of mine on there and I fully support it.

don't forget the unprivileged impoverished textbook makers


In the year of '39 assembled here the Volunteers,

Disrespect goes deep.

But also consider how easy it is for his dad to not see how big Queen was. When they were only locally famous, he already heard about them all the time. Going global won't change how much he hears about his son.

Not until you see them filling Madison Square Garden do you realize he really did make it.

I'm cultivating ass.

That sentence has never been, and will never be, accurate in any sense.

Isn't science supposed to be shared freely? I never understood why they can't use CC licenses on scientific papers.

Bruh. I can't even click the link.

An epic spread across three albums

That's Dr. Brian May to you.

And he sure is handling this whole Brexit thing pretty good


Brian May wrote a song about the effects of time dilation on a crew of astronauts traveling close to the speed of light.

One year passes for them, but over a century has passed on Earth.

Check it out:

If this sounds similar to the plot of Interstellar, that's because it is. Except the Queen song came out in 1975.

I'm cultivating mass.

Well maybe if scientists had groupies, millions of adoring fans and a multi million pound contract there would be more scientists in the world.

I had a conversation with him once. He is as genial and friendly as you'd like to imagine.

Or Queens of the Stone Age.

I don't know what's sadder. The fact that I was still watching Arthur when I was 19 or that I thought the episode came out a lot longer than it actually did.

The new release from Flaming Lips

the long awaited follow up to "Astronomy Domine"

1977 was not early in their career and MS is a great venue to show you've made it.

Elon Musk isn't a scientist. He is a billionaire entrepreneur who employs scientists. This is still a good thing but not quite what /u/bumlove was talking about.

That's like totally my favourite Queen song.

Don't stop now! You guys are really on a grohl.





I'll never look at blue-eyed floozies the same way again.

39 is amazing but I've always loved "My Melancholy Blues" and of course "Somebody To Love".

If anyone here is only familiar with well known Queen songs like Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, etc, then they should really listen to as much of their albums as they can. Some songs are a bit odd but they're all very good.

In the days when lands were few

The fact the you got the date wrong by 14 years. Did you just assume you stopped watching when you were 5?

Best motherfucking website.

The episode aired on October 25, 2010. This was 6 years ago.source

It's all that MSG.

When they signed their original record deal in 1973 with Trident records, they got a shit deal. They didn't end up making any money when Bohemian Rhapsody came out in 1975, and they had so much debt, and paid an assload to ditch their contract / switch record companies / managers, they weren't wealthy or rich until the end of the 70's / beginning of the 80's.

Their record contract was so bad (listen to death on two legs, dedicated to their then manager) that in 1975 they got a "raise" in their allowance to 60£ per week per member....which was barely better than the average wage of a working stiff in Britain at the time.... but nothing for successful musician. At one point in '75, John Deacon asked for 4000£ to buy a house for his pregnant wife and him.... not only did the record company refuse, but the band found out that not only did they not have 4,000£ but that they owed 200,000£ before they could receive anymore income payments or advances from the record company.

I believe Bri stated at one point it took the sales and tours for ADATR in '76, NOTW In '77, and Jazz in '78 to get them out of the red and "wealthy".

This was one of the problems that his father had with Brian choosing the music business, he saw his son wasn't making hardly anything for years, all the while abandoning a financially lucrative PHD...

My favorite Queen song by far

Yeah. "Survey" was just too 'Boy Band' for the times.

Next you're going to tell me that Matthew Broderick was in a car crash that killed two women and was fined only $175 instead of getting five years in jail.

Calling "The Prophet's Song" and "The March Of The Black Queen" a bit odd is an understatement.

The Joe Rogan Experience with James Hetfield is like three hours of this.

Joe has pretty much didn't know much about Metallica beyond a superficial appreciation of their music, so he goes off on tangents with Hetfield and it's pretty cool. You'd never guess that the frontman of Metallica had a passion for beekeeping and hunting.

I love titles that are really great in that more subtle sense. No big flashy pun or anything; just a particularly clever way to phrase the info.


Don't forget he wrote '39. It's a wonderful marriage of Queen and and a PhD in astrophysics.

Really? All that in the headline and no mention of '39? The best rock tune ever written about the special theory of relativity?

Before the dark times. Before the Empire.

Ahh! Noted. Don't feel quite as brain dead now.


About as edgy as the stick figure telling me how to make chili at 2 am