The main cause of my writer’s block and general low self-esteem when it comes to writing about people-who-are-both-scientists-and-musicians is that I don’t have as many facts as my inner scientist would like. For example, my original inspiration came from seeing how people react to finding out that certain scientists are musicians, or that certain musicians (like Brian May) are scientists. They’re always surprised, even though I keep seeing these tidbits all over the place and I can’t even begin to count how many people I know by that description. But how do you capture surprise? I felt that I needed something tangible to point to, to say “see, this is how people react”, rather than expecting people to just believe me.
Thanks to the Olympics closing ceremony, I now have some evidence. At one point during the weird, hours-long ceremony, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May took the stage. The day after the ceremony aired, I compiled a storify of most of the tweets I could find that referred to Brian May and some keywords like “scientist”, “physicist”, “astrophysics”.
Below are over three hundred tweets of people being excited enough about Brian May’s science background that they thought it was worthy of a tweet. Among them are some scientists who are being smug about “one of us” being on stage, but also teens whose dad just told them about Brian May, and people who knew it already but wanted to tell others.
I collected these tweets because I need to see them once in a while, to be reminded that people really do find this kind of thing interesting.