Guitarist May to complete PhD in astrophysics


Guitarist and songwriter Brian May is completing his doctorate in astrophysics, more than 30 years after he dropped it to form the rock group Queen. May is due to finish carrying out astronomical observations at an observatory on the island of La Palma, Spain, the observatory said.

May said he plans to submit his thesis, ‘Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud’, to supervisors at Imperial College London within the next two weeks.

May was an astrophysics student at Imperial College when he joined Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor to form Queen in 1970, but dropped his doctorate as the glam rock band became successful. After Mercury’s death in 1991, May returned to solo work, producing two albums, the latest of which, Another World appeared in 1998.

But his interest in astronomy never left him, and last year he co-authored a book on the subject, Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.

May, 60, told the BBC that he had always wanted to complete his degree.

“It was unfinished business,” May said. “I didn’t want an honorary PhD. I wanted the real thing that I worked for.”

He said his interest in the stars was perfectly compatible with his musical pursuits. “I enjoy having different facets to my life,” he said.