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Brian May, Rock Legend, Publishes His Thesis

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the eyes-just-like-a-laser-beam dept.

Music 198

A year ago we took note when Brian May, guitarist for Queen for the last 30 years, submitted his thesis for a Ph.D. in astrophysics. The news now is that the thesis has been published. You, too, can read all about the population of tiny asteroids and space dust that cause the Zodiacal light. The completed thesis appears as the book "A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" (Springer and Canopus Publishing Ltd., 2008), available at Amazon for $71.96. May was awarded his Ph.D. last summer and accepted a position as chancellor at a British university in November.

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Too pricey (5, Funny)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | about 6 years ago | (#24451303)

$71.96? Come on, Halo 3 was only $60 and that cost $100,000,000 to make.

Re:Too pricey (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451601)

Yeah, but it didn't that 35 years!

Actually I went to his Imperial College lecture on the subject, and he was well into it.

Sadly not being a physicist I was initially more interested in that he was using Powerpoint on a Macbook Pro to present the material. But it all looked good, graphs and explanation were all there.

Glad the guy could finish the PhD he started way back then!

Re:Too pricey (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about 6 years ago | (#24451859)

He was bloody lucky. I got my PhD from York University (England), and they got so pissed off with people taking ages to write up and submit that they issued a decree that you must submit within 4 years of starting.

Re:Too pricey (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#24452809)

He was bloody lucky. I got my PhD from York University (England), and they got so pissed off with people taking ages to write up and submit that they issued a decree that you must submit within 4 years of starting.

You must have been the rejected 5th Beatle I take it? What credible University would turn down Brian May and call him lame for leaving his post-graduate work to persue and help supplant QUEEN as rock legends?

If you hum a few bars I'm sure a few of us around here can fake it.

Re:Too pricey (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | about 6 years ago | (#24451843)

$71.96? Come on, Halo 3 was only $60 and that cost $100,000,000 to make.

Welcome to the world of academic publishing!

Re:Too pricey (2, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#24451845)

Authors usually don't choose those prices, and a price like that generally reflects a low confidence that anyone besides libraries will purchase this work. In this case it seems like a strategic error; I bet there's a huge market for this among fans of his music if it were say $25. But I don't see how that market can be very large at this price point. I suppose once they notice interest in it they might consider releasing it in paperback. But a $71 price tag is generally not something an author wants to see on their published dissertation. I'm surprised he didn't negotiate something different though.

Re:Too pricey (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451925)

$71.96? Come on, Halo 3 was only $60 and that cost $100,000,000 to make.

So tell him where to stick that fancy label.

Re:Too pricey (3, Funny)

CowardWithAName (679157) | about 6 years ago | (#24452883)

So tell him where to stick that fancy label.

Somehow I doubt May has been sleeping on any sidewalks recently...

</inside-joke>

Re:Too pricey (5, Informative)

reset_button (903303) | about 6 years ago | (#24452253)

I just paid $60 for a copy of MY OWN dissertation! Five years of hard work and then my university makes me pay $200+ for copyright and publishing, then charges me another $60 to get a copy!

Re:Too pricey (2, Interesting)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 6 years ago | (#24452385)

That's cold, perhaps you should have considered using the CCD CopyWrite [apotheon.org] , instead?

Rock music (5, Funny)

DivineGod (1160361) | about 6 years ago | (#24451305)

This sorts of gives that term a new meaning?

Re:Rock music (5, Funny)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | about 6 years ago | (#24451317)

I though for sure the first bad joke would have something to do with Mercury!!

Re:Rock music (2, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 6 years ago | (#24451837)

Mercury or Uranus. Maybe both.

Re:Rock music (2, Funny)

originalTMAN (694813) | about 6 years ago | (#24452751)

what does Freddie Mercury have to do with Uranus?

Re:Rock music (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#24452823)

what does Freddie Mercury have to do with Uranus?

Perhaps it's been a dream of his to have Mercury orbit it?

Re:Rock music (2, Interesting)

xenocide2 (231786) | about 6 years ago | (#24451323)

Maybe. I'd heard calls to make scientists into rockstars, but never rockstars into scientists!

Re:Rock music (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24451373)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo_Goes_To_College [wikipedia.org]

Milo from the Descendents got his doctorate in Biochemistry.

Re:Rock music (1)

Neuropol (665537) | about 6 years ago | (#24451423)

welcome to der weinerschnitzel
may i take your order please?

yeah i want:
two large cokes
two large fries
chili-cheese dog
large doctor pepper
super deluxe, with cheese and tomato

you want bill sperm with that?

no!

Re:Rock music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451769)

Awesome. I am really surprised to see anyone else on Slashdot who like the Descendants.

Re:Rock music (2, Informative)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 6 years ago | (#24451993)

Someone else mentioned Milo. Brian Cox is probably the most hard-core. He used to be the keyboard player in Dare and D:ream and once got into a bar fight with Jimmy Page. He is now a full-on professor of physics. But you're kinda right. It's actually more common for scientists to be classical or jazz musicians.

Re:Rock music (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#24452849)

Someone else mentioned Milo. Brian Cox is probably the most hard-core. He used to be the keyboard player in Dare and D:ream and once got into a bar fight with Jimmy Page. He is now a full-on professor of physics. But you're kinda right. It's actually more common for scientists to be classical or jazz musicians.

How he managed to have that long actor career and be Captain O'Hagan of Super Troopers is still a mystery.

Re:Rock music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451585)

too little to late...http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8098288299406749997&hl=en. rap music has already surpassed the Ph.D quota that rock and roll can claim.

Re:Rock music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451639)

perhaps being a rap artist requires no musical education..... perhaps......

Re:Rock music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452427)

Damn! Yet another MC Hawking video!

Full thesis title (5, Funny)

radimvice (762083) | about 6 years ago | (#24451315)

"Another One Bites the Dust: A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud".

Re:Full thesis title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451357)

I was thinking more "we will rock you"

Re:Full thesis title (4, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24451533)

I wonder if he used a radio-ga-ga telescope to get his data?

Re:Full thesis title (1)

Melkman (82959) | about 6 years ago | (#24451729)

At least he has made his final break through now...

Re:Full thesis title (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#24451809)

"I wonder if he used a radio-ga-ga telescope to get his data?"

He is, but, first, he has to tie his mother down.

Re:Full thesis title (1)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24451823)

I wonder if he used a radio-ga-ga telescope to get his data?

He tried, but all he got was some background noise. So he ended up having to watch the stars on videos, which took ages.

Re:Full thesis title (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 years ago | (#24452133)

Video killed the Radio star.

Re:Full thesis title (5, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | about 6 years ago | (#24452191)

The rotation of oscillating rotational planets, as influenced by female homo sapiens with large gluteal regions.

Re:Full thesis title (3, Funny)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#24452861)

The rotation of oscillating rotational planets, as influenced by female homo sapiens with large gluteal regions.

Fat-bottomed Girls to the less verbose-minded.

Re:Full thesis title (1)

mike260 (224212) | about 6 years ago | (#24452257)

I wonder if he used a radio-ga-ga telescope to get his data?

Indeed, he did. I believe he also harnessed a SETI@home-like distributed effort to filter the radio ga-ga from the radio goo-goo and radio bla-bla.

Re:Full thesis title (1)

pxlmusic (1147117) | about 6 years ago | (#24451545)

brilliant!

Re:Full thesis title (2, Funny)

MarkTraceur (1329579) | about 6 years ago | (#24451735)

No, it was "Fat-Bottomed Girls, They Make the Rockin' World Go 'Round: A Study of Possible Causes of Gravity."

(TOTALLY stolen from UserFriendly, go upmod that site if you like this comment)

So that song was at least good for something... (0, Redundant)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | about 6 years ago | (#24451351)

And another one bites the zodiacal dust.

Two down, two to go (4, Funny)

plopez (54068) | about 6 years ago | (#24451383)

Now all he needs to do is learn how to do brain surgery and start making movies.

If you don't get the joke, rent this one:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086856/ [imdb.com]

and watch the extended version

Re:Two down, two to go (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451597)

and watch the extended version

Really, you don't have to. That movie tongues major sweaty asshole.

Re:Two down, two to go (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451817)

My girlfriend likes to rim me you insensitive clod!

Professors (5, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24451385)

His astrophysicist professors kept arguing with him that despite his assertions, fat-bottomed girls did not make the world go round.

Re:Professors (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24451471)

His astrophysicist professors kept arguing with him that despite his assertions, fat-bottomed girls did not make the world go round.

However, it appears that travelling at the speed of light would make a supersonic man out of you.

Re:Professors (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 6 years ago | (#24451669)

However, it appears that travelling at the speed of light would make a supersonic man out of you.

Not in vacuum, though.

Re:Professors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451725)

Since it's basically impossible to make a perfect vacuum, which space is certainly not, there will still be a speed of sound. Which will certainly be slower than the speed of light.

Re:Professors (1)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24451801)

Not in vacuum, though.

Space isn't quite a vacuum. There is a very sparse gas, through which the solar wind blows; doesn't really matter for interplanetary navigation as it's not really under pressure, so you don't need much force to break through.

Re:Professors (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 6 years ago | (#24452181)

That actually raises an interesting question on the side, namely what is the lowest density of matter required for sound wave propagation? Presumably (IANAP so please correct me if I'm wrong) if the density is only a few particles per unit of space, then it becomes very unlikely that a single oscillating particle can transmit an excess energy quantum to the closest (but far away) neighbour. There must therefore exist a critical percolation density below which a sound wave cannot propagate.

Re:Professors (1)

weeboo0104 (644849) | about 6 years ago | (#24452873)

Since it would be in space, wouldn't it make you more similar to Flash Gordon? BTW, He'll save every one of us.

Re:Professors (0, Redundant)

Legion_SB (1300215) | about 6 years ago | (#24451607)

I was hoping the first person to bring up "fat-bottomed girls" would make some kind of gravitational forces of large bodies comment.

Sadly, the parent poster here took the easier, less clever road. :(

Re:Professors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451927)

Funniest joke so far!

Dedicatory (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#24451397)

To all people that didn't finished school to search for fame and fortune.

Re:Dedicatory (2, Funny)

Eighty7 (1130057) | about 6 years ago | (#24452211)

It's more common than you'd think. For example, it is a little known fact that Ms Spears is an expert in semiconductor physics [britneyspears.ac] . And the president himself knows a few things about high energy physics [theonion.com] .

Checking astro-ph... (1)

ettlz (639203) | about 6 years ago | (#24451455)

...Nope, can't find it. Come on May, put your thesis on the arXiv like everyone else does these days.

Re:Checking astro-ph... (2, Funny)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 6 years ago | (#24451687)

He isn't going to publish it on a public source because he is
following the advice of everyone on Slashdot and adding some form of
value added feature to his music. At $71 a print he can make enough
money to support his touring habit and get all the money that the
labels never paid out from their lawsuits-to-protect-the-artists.

Think of it as a very expensive tour shirt except that has a lot more
text on it and you can't get it on a tour. /end insane_justification

Re:Checking astro-ph... (1)

Cheesey (70139) | about 6 years ago | (#24451847)

It is most annoying to see people trying to make money from their theses, especially as almost nobody actually succeeds in doing so. In many cases a thesis is written using tax money, and in all cases the purpose of the thesis is to advance scientific knowledge. So why try to stop people reading it?

The only reason I can see is that a thesis is often not very good, and if you publish it on the web, this will be obvious to anyone who cares to look. Whereas if someone has to go to the British Library or buy it for $$$ in order to read it, you're not going to get as many critics.

Good for him (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451459)

Sure beats getting coked out and dying in a gutter like some other rock legends.

Re:Good for him (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24451523)

As someone going for their PhD, I have to wonder if it actually does.

Re:Good for him (1)

jwiegley (520444) | about 6 years ago | (#24451827)

Lesson here is... Get coked out and famous FIRST. then your thesis will be worth $70 a copy and sells on Amazon.

If you skip the coke/fame thing then you get my deal... I can't give away copies of mine.

So QUICK! suspend your defense, join a band, get famous and then finish. It's too late for me but for you there is still hope.

Re:Good for him (1)

EricWright (16803) | about 6 years ago | (#24451861)

Apparently so. I skipped the getting famous part. I think there are exactly 5 copies of my thesis in existence: mine, my parents, a copy for each of my co-chairs and one for the university library.

The worst part is that I had to PAY for all of them!

Re:Good for him (2, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#24451853)

As someone with a PhD, I can assure you that it doesn't. Posted anonymously for obvious reasons.
 
D'oh!

Re:Good for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452669)

I am just beginning the long process towards a Ph.D. in Applied Computer Science. I hope it does not take me as long as it took Brian May.

Re:Good for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452677)

As someone going for their PhD, I have to wonder if it actually does.

You there: read another book.

And he still plays! (5, Informative)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | about 6 years ago | (#24451557)

Andrea Corr & Brian May performing "Is This The World We Created?" at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Concert at Hyde Park on June 27th 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amG-3BiiEu8 [youtube.com]

Re:And he still plays! (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 6 years ago | (#24451579)

What? No Rick Roll?

Re:And he still plays! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451731)

What? No Rick Roll? [youtube.com]

Re:And he still plays! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451849)

Here, I got it: wow, check out this other brilliant Brian May performance! [youtube.com]

I quite My Astrophysics PhD To Work In Music... (1, Interesting)

szyzyg (7313) | about 6 years ago | (#24451571)

I moved from Ireland to California to work at a company called myplay.com and later moved to Napster. Now I'm at imeem.com

I still entertain some deep down belief that one day I might return to astrophysics and submit my thesis, maybe if one of these internet music companies finally make me some money.

(of course, even if I stopped work tomorrow I now have young kids to take care of...)

Re:I quite My Astrophysics PhD To Work In Music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451723)

Please do the world a favor and drop these imminent-failure attempts at web services in order to return to your PhD. Imeem is just another doomed service from the Napster d-bags after they sold the brand.

Professor ? Not yet (1)

zymano (581466) | about 6 years ago | (#24451591)

Not until he can build a timemachine.

Beyond impressed (4, Interesting)

Pheidias (141114) | about 6 years ago | (#24451599)

To an opera singer who is wading into comp. sci. / AI / brain science (and rapidly getting submerged, I must admit), this is rather inspiring.

Come on, Neil Peart! Don't let the guitarists get all the PhD's!

Re:Beyond impressed (3, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | about 6 years ago | (#24451719)

Peart is a fantastic writer. If he put out a thesis in anything I'd take a look just because it'll be an interesting read.

Re:Beyond impressed (2, Informative)

porcupine8 (816071) | about 6 years ago | (#24452009)

Not a musician, but Mayim Bialik ("Blossom") got her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA last year. She's still working as an actress, too - mostly voice work in cartoons and guest appearances. As a theater major getting a science PhD, I keep an eye out for these types, they're definitely inspirational. :)

Re:Beyond impressed (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 6 years ago | (#24452305)

Don't forget Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), who co-wrote a paper on mathematics.

Re:Beyond impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452531)

Since Peart didn't even finish High School, I doubt he'll be able to get a PhD.

WIth a cool doctoral dissertation like that (4, Funny)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | about 6 years ago | (#24451635)

the guy will finally be able to score with the chicks!

My opinion (2, Informative)

DrugCheese (266151) | about 6 years ago | (#24451667)

I didn't read the article, but Brian May is one of the greatest unsung guitar heroes still alive.

Re:My opinion (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about 6 years ago | (#24451747)

In what sense is Brian May, world famous guitarist with Queen and physics PhD unsung?

Re:My opinion (1)

sir fer (1232128) | about 6 years ago | (#24452057)

Well I don't hear anybody singing about him...badoom-tshh!

I agree (1)

sir fer (1232128) | about 6 years ago | (#24452015)

His guitar is also home-made.

Re:My opinion (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#24452375)

Yeah, right. Lead guitarist of one of the most famous rock bands of all time, unsung? Hilarious.

Re:My opinion (2, Interesting)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about 6 years ago | (#24452783)

It's very easy to make the case for May being "unsung"

-First and foremost, Queen is arguably the most successful and ignored band in the United States. Yes, they own the Rock Anthem chart and "we are the champions" is played to death at every major sporting event (C'mon, can't they try "February stars" by the Foo Fighters at the super bowl? just once? ), but in terms of album sales? Queen is so far down the list it's pathetic. Their worldwide sales were disproportionate to their US sales from 1975-ish on. Once glam rock died out, Queen all but disappeared from US charts. From about 84 on they still ruled the rock charts in Europe, but they never toured the US after 1982. As the "Home of rock and roll", i'd say that says something.

-Solo success. I own Brian May's first post-queen solo album and I'm probably one of the 15 people in the US that does. He's a helluva guitar player (especially considering he and his father *built* his trademark guitar from a discarded fireplace mantle) but if you ask people to name the ten greatest guitar players of all time, I'd bet huge....tracts of land that you probably wouldn't get close to hearing his name. There are plenty of other "name" guitarists out there. He just doesn't have the cult of personality that Clapton, Page, Vaughn or Hendrix have. Heck, He doesn't have the following of Satriani or even Yngwie.

He's one of the greats, but he's definitely not one of the best known. You've really got to know your guitar Gods to throw May's name out there.

Re:My opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452557)

I didn't read the article, but Brian May is one of the greatest unsung guitar heroes still alive.

No, GlaDOS, we will not put your song in guitar hero 4. Isn't rock band enough?

Cool. Way To Go. However (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451679)

he thought he was researching fellow musicians not rock stars.

Rock stars and school (1)

ShawnH (45698) | about 6 years ago | (#24451697)

So, is this going to inspire Tommy Lee to keep at it?

w00t! (2, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | about 6 years ago | (#24451709)

He's the chancellor for MY university [ljmu.ac.uk] .
Sadly, it's the only good thing I can say about said university, but as a massive Queen fan, that's good enough for me!

Rock legend becoming a PhD? (3, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 6 years ago | (#24451741)

That's not news. PhD's are ten a penny and I see no reason to assume that rock legends are less intelligent than the rest of us. It's like those news stories that make a big deal of educated women. "And she has a degree in Mathematics - ooh, aah!"

Now a PhD becoming a rock legend on the other hand. That would be news! Becoming a rock legend is not an ordinary everyday occurrence.

Re:Rock legend becoming a PhD? (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 6 years ago | (#24451819)

Not to belabor the obvious, but a Ph.D. in astrophysics literally *is* a rock legend.

Its not often you see a rock star ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24451773)

circling with heavenly bodies:)

Obligatory Simpson's (3, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | about 6 years ago | (#24451879)

Homer: "Rock stars- they know everything!"

Not bad... (2)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 6 years ago | (#24451907)

...for a guy in a band that sang about fat-bottomed girls, bicycles and stormtroopers in stilettos.

The real question is... (2, Funny)

astrosmash (3561) | about 6 years ago | (#24451931)

Is Brian May a LaTeX user? Perhaps he could write a song about it.

Re:The real question is... (4, Funny)

mike260 (224212) | about 6 years ago | (#24452395)

Is Brian May a LaTeX user? Perhaps he could write a song about it.

I Want to Break Free?
Chinese Torture?
I'm Going Slightly Mad?

I think... (5, Funny)

david.given (6740) | about 6 years ago | (#24452023)

...he's going to be the only person in academic history to actually generate any income from selling his Ph.D thesis.

We Are Stardust (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#24452077)

"We are golden" - CSNY

By which they meant that most of our chemical composition elements were forged in the cores of stars before they went supernova. No PhD for plagiarizing Joni Mitchell [youtube.com] , though.

Does it matter? (1)

eccenthink (1312043) | about 6 years ago | (#24452091)

The solar wind affects the zodiacal dust cloud but, "...anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me".

Don't get too paranoid over this, Dale Gribble... (0, Offtopic)

Nick Driver (238034) | about 6 years ago | (#24452217)

I work for an outfit in Texas that installs these systems into patrol cars. It's hard enough to get a current database for these systems to compare the OCR'd license plates against. They currently have no ability to correlate all scanned plates with GPS coordinates and it would take a substantial development effort to put such a monster together anyway. All they do is compare OCR'ed plate numbers against a pre-determined database of already known stolen or wanted tag numbers and the systems as they exist today can barely accomplish that task with enough accuracy to be worthwhile to install at all.

Why the fuck... (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | about 6 years ago | (#24452251)

...did Slashdot post this to the Brian May thread? I responded to the thread below it, dealing with license plate reader system on cop cars.

Re:Don't get too paranoid over this, Dale Gribble. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | about 6 years ago | (#24452623)

You install Brian May? Can I have two?

duel with patrick stewart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24452337)

isn't patrick stewart the chancellor at yorkshire? i wonder if their schools every play soccer against eachother...

Ranking not /.ed (1)

SEWilco (27983) | about 6 years ago | (#24452539)

"Amazon.com Sales Rank: #295,003 in Books"
Someone hasn't bought their copy yet.
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