An outstanding development in England yesterday: Queen guitarist, Ph.D. astrophysicist, and Astronomy
magazine Editorial Advisory Board Member Brian May has become a patron of one of the country’s most important astronomy-related historic sites, Herschel House in Bath, England.
Here is the press release issued yesterday:
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy in Bath is delighted to announce that Dr. Brian May CBE, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society has agreed to become their new Patron, stepping in to the role left vacant by the death of Patrick Moore in 2012.
The internationally acclaimed rock star, song writer, producer, and animal rights campaigner put his interest in astrophysics on hold as Queen became a global success. Thirty years later, he completed his Ph.D. at Imperial College, London in 2007. In 2006, he co-authored his first book, Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, with Sir Patrick Moore and Dr. Chris Lintott. This illustrated astrophysics book was followed in 2012 with the release of a greatly anticipated sequel, The Cosmic Tourist.
May was a friend and colleague of Sir Patrick Moore and the man he credited with igniting his love of astronomy. He says, “In common with every one of my generation who took up astronomy as a hobby or as a profession, I was inspired as a boy, by Sir Patrick on The Sky At Night — on the TV just at the time I was supposed to go to bed! The inspiration lasted my whole life.”
Sir Patrick had a longstanding involvement with the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in New King Street, where Herschel discovered the planet Uranus on March 13, 1781. As a great educator and enthusiast, he supported the museum and helped raise its profile.
The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, an independent museum in Bath, is situated in the Georgian townhouse where William Herschel and his sister Caroline lived from 1777 to 1782. The staff were all agreed that there was only one possible replacement for Sir Patrick and wrote to May inviting him to be the Patron of the museum. “We are thrilled and delighted to welcome Brian May as our new Patron,” says Curator Debbie James. “His knowledge of astrophysics and gift for inspiring enthusiasm for astronomy in others make him the perfect ambassador for the museum. William Herschel came to England as a professional musician and then fell in love with astronomy; Brian May continues the link between music and the stars. We couldn’t think of anyone better suited for the role.”
Brian May accepted the invitation. “I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of Sir Patrick as Patron of the Herschel Museum. Patrick had a great affection for the museum, and I think he felt an affinity for Herschel himself, a man who, like Sir Patrick, devoted his whole life to science.
“It’s an inspiring place, giving a first-hand glimpse into the life of one of the world’s finest astronomers, and a reminder that the dedication of one man can change the perception of the whole world. I hope to be a good Patron and an ambassador for this important part of Britain’s scientific heritage.”