Happy Birthday, Brian May: Rock Star, Rocket Scientist, Knight

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Photo source: brianmay.com

Photo source: brianmay.com

The man who plays guitar with Queen and wrote such songs for the band as “We Will Rock You,” “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “’39” helped rock the world with the 2015 close-up images of Pluto. He’s Dr. Brian May, having earned his PhD in astrophysics in 2007 from Imperial College London. And was a collaborator on NASA’s New Horizons space probe team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Yes, the classic rock superstar does more than entertain stadiums and arenas filled with fans. Even while working as a musical artist, his genius developed his advanced Red Special guitar. He is also part of another team that advocates defensive satellites and and telescopes to protect Earth so that asteroids don’t rock us in ways that could be devastating to the world.

“Pure art and pure science are the pinnacles of human endeavor,” May says. “You can add love to that if you like. So much of what we do is for money, power, or advancement, but pure work is important because it stands apart from the things that we do for survival and extends the range of human consciousness.”

Related: Brian May, astronaut Chris Hadfield perform at 2016 Starmus conference

May was born on July 19, 1947, in the London district of Hampton Hill. He was Knighted in 2023 in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace presided by King Charles III. His Star Fleet Project album was reissued that year for its 40th anniversary.

Here is May with Rick Wakeman, among others, performing Queen’s “39,” a song about space exploration, at the 2014 International Festival, an international gathering focused on celebrating astronomy, space exploration, music, art, and allied sciences such as biology and chemistry.

May and 10cc founding member Graham Gouldman marked the historic first images from the James Webb Space Telescope with a new song, “Floating in Heaven.”

Tickets to see Queen + Adam Lambert are available here and here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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