Dr. Brian May, 13 December, 2017,By {Raph_PH – QueenO2121217-70, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=111449642}

Musician and scientist Dr. Brian May is now Sir Brian. The co-founder of Queen was knighted by King Charles III for his contributions to both music and charity in the New Year Honours list. In addition to being a singer/songwriter, Sir Brian is also an astrophysicist and an animal rights activist. Music fans consider him one of the world’s best guitarists.

Sir Brian, with singer Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) and drummer Roger Taylor founded the rock band Queen in 1970. Queen is one of the most popular rock-and-roll bands in the world.

Musician and Scientist

Dr. May was born July 19,1947, in Hampton Hill, Middlesex, England, UK. In 2001 Sir Brian was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Queen Elizabeth appointed him CBE in 2005. He earned his doctorate in astrophysics in 2007 from the Imperial College London. In2019 Sir Brian was awarded the Lawrence J. Birpee Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for outstanding contributions to the advancement of geography.

Sir Brian, with the late Stephen Hawking, was a co-founder of Asteroid Day, an international day of awareness for the possibility of asteroids striking the Earth. Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, German filmmaker Grigorij S. Richters, and  B612 Foundation president Danica Remy were also co-founders of Asteroid Day. The asteroid  52665 Brianmay  is named in his honor in 2008. Dr. May was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2015 Dr. May worked with NASA as part of their New Horizons team, interpreting data gathered about Pluto. Sir Brian was awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in September 2022. Also in 2022, the University of Hull awarded Dr. May a second doctorate, an honorary D.Sc. in addition to the Ph.D. he had already earned.

Remember the DART mission, earlier this year? Sir Brian assisted with that. He “contributed the stereography images of the structural stability of double asteroid” Didymos.

Knight, musician, scientist, author, ecologist: what’s next for Sir Brian May? Whatever fate has in mind for him, he won’t disappoint. Congratulations, Sir Brian.

Sir Brian played on the roof of Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

“In addition to sifting through some of the images and information gleaned from New Horizons, May compiled the first high-quality stereo image of Pluto. Single-lens cameras produce images that look as if you just covered up one of your eyes, but a stereo photograph can appear to be three-dimensional with the help of a stereoscope.

Pluto {image via NSA}

“Of course the New Horizons guys were already doing serious science on this image as it arrived,” May wrote. “But I was able to assemble the two images to make the most satisfying stereo view I can ever remember making.”

Sir Brian wrote “Who Wants to Live Forever” for the soundtrack of the Highlander (1986) movie. He also played guitar on the song Someone to Die For for the soundtrack of Spider-Man 2 (2004).

Sir Brian has been married twice. He and his first wife, Christine Mullen, had three children James, Louisia, and Emily. They were married from 1976 to 1988. He married the current Lady May, actress Anita Dobson in 2000 (Lady May appeared in Darkness Falls (1999). In the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders, she played Angie Watts).

Sir Brian’s doctoral dissertation was “A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud” which analyzed reflected light from planetary dust and the velocity of dust in the plane of the Solar System. When Queen became successful, Sir Brian put his astronomical studies on hold, but eventually returned to school to earn his doctorate.

May proved that Langston Hughes was mistaken. “A dream deferred” does not always shrivel like “a raisin in the sun.” Sometime it is achieved later than originally planned. Tenacity is as important as talent. Sir Brian possesses both.

Three cheers for Sir Brian May, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) hero, master guitarist, singer/songwriter, astrophysicist, philanthropist. As an animal rights activist, he is a vociferous advocate against fox hunting and badger culling.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.