Good Company

Brian May. Photo from:, guess who was at Griffith Observatory recently? Brian May! He’s that astrophysicist who took some time off to play (excellent) guitar and compose songs in the band called Queen. Ring any bells? (I found the nice photo here.) So why was he in town? Well, a slightly giggly (but always great) Madeline Brand (of the NPR program “Day To Day”) went along to interview him, and you can listen to the interview here, and read a transcript, as well as see extracts from him book (written with Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott), charmingly and blatantly (but knowingly?) unrealistically called “Bang! The Complete History of the Universe”. I actually looked through it in a bookstore the other day – looks rather nice. Wonderfully produced and I read some well-written passages, so might be worth picking up if you’re looking for a fresh read about the universe.

As a side note, I was a huge fan of his during my middle to late teenage years and early 20s, and although I also built my own electric guitar while young and even practiced in the same room at Imperial College that he did, I saw where my true path lay and stuck with the physics. And no, I probably won’t be returning to pick up my rock guitar career after I’ve accomplished everything I want to in physics. Nice symmetry, but no. (For one thing, he took 35 years out, so I have time, for another, you never accomplish everything you want to in physics, and for another, I was mediocre at best.) I dug out the guitar the other day actually. Had the urge to play it all of a sudden. Perhaps I’ll show it to you some time. Oh, I must get a decent amplifier for it…


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3 Responses to Good Company

  1. Aaron says:

    prof johnson + electric guitar = FTMFW

  2. Ed says:

    I can’t think of any band that assembled that much raw talent as “Queen”. (I include Led Zeppelin). If B.M. is as good a physisist, we may yet see some new breakthroughs.

  3. Mary Cole says:

    I can recommend the book, (despite the title!). My daughter loves it, and it went to school recently for her ‘show and tell’!(It’s pretty good for adults too.) My husband (who is a scientist) commented when he heard about Brian May’s recent completion of his Ph.D. that he (my husband) will resume his career as international rock star when he’s 60. Clifford, please do a post sometime about your homemade guitar!