Brian May describes spiritual lift from astronomy

Guitarist Brian May, a founding member of the rock band, was once a student in astronomy, and he told us he’s returning to complete his Ph.D.

May has co-authored a popular book on cosmology called Bang! The Complete History of the Universe with noted British astronomy popularizer Patrick Moore. We asked Brian May what he feels when he looks out at the stars.

Brian May: I find it a great help, spiritually, something which grounds you, and in times of difficulty, can give you hope. I’ve had some wonderful times in my life. But I’ve also had some quite severe depression. And in those times, I would go out and look at the sky and see perhaps Orion, in the sky, looking very strong and brave, and always the same. Always a friend that I could come back to. I remember looking up and thinking, and getting a feeling of bravery from the stars, a feeling that there was something which was eternal. And that I would get through, and I would find a better place.

Like many astronomers, May has a perspective on life that comes from studying the stars.

Brian May: I think that rock stars could be accused of losing their sense of perspective quite often. And this is something that definitely keeps me with one foot in a different kind of world, where it’s necessary to be very humble. Because we are very small creatures in this universe, for sure.

Our thanks today to Research Corporation.

Our thanks to:
Brian May
A founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer, and performer. Brian was forced to abandon his PhD studies on interplanetary dust at Imperial College, London when Queen’s popularity first exploded, but has always retained his keen interest in astronomy, and is a regular contributor to The Sky at Night.

October 1, 2007

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