Brian May. University Chancellor.
re-posted from Sydney Morning Herald
Rock star and astrophysics expert Brian May took up his post as a university chancellor today, warning that science funding cuts risked damaging Britain’s position on the world stage.
The Queen guitarist, who last year completed a long-abandoned doctoral thesis on interplanetary dust, said he was “very proud” to become the chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in north-west England.
The 60-year-old star, who dropped his studies in the 1970s as Queen took off, told the 500-strong congregation as he accepted the largely honorary post that science was woefully underfunded in Britain.
“It is very sad that the cuts have been so sweeping. It is a real shame. I think everyone is going through a horrific time in science in this country. It is a rather sorry state of affairs,” he said.
“I think it is a big mistake and we are putting our future internationally at risk in science. We need a bit of funding. We need support for the great scientific nation we have been.”
May, who penned hits like We Will Rock You, The Show Must Go On and Flash, hoped his experiences would act as an inspiration for others to start learning again.
Cherie Blair, the former prime minister Tony Blair’s wife, was in the audience. The Liverpudlian served as LJMU chancellor from 1999-2006.
May also spoke about Queen’s forthcoming album with former Free and Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers, and subsequent European tour from September to November.
The record is the legendary British group’s first studio album in 13 years.
May and drummer Roger Taylor remain from the original four band members. Singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991, while bassist John Deacon has retired.
“The long arm of Queen has pulled me back in at the moment. It is a beast,” said May.
“We’ve pressed the button to go on tour this autumn so already the preparations are very consuming. We are finishing an album. We’ve chosen our set, we’ve chosen our environment on tour.
“It is very exciting, very exciting indeed. Very time consuming. but Queen always was consuming.”
A sequel to Queen’s hit musical We Will Rock You is also in its planning stages, May added.