BM Eureka Magazine Q&AWho Are You? Brian May
The physcist and sometime Queen guitarist just wants to break free from the norm
Eureka Magazine, The Times 1st April 2010
Nature or nurture?
This is a pretty random question, and I'm not sure quite what it refers to. So my answer is fairly random too. Every creature that Nature created is worthy of respect and nurture. But the world needs an awful lot of changing, before this becomes a principle governing human behaviour.
Newton or Einstein?
Both. Of course. Without Newton there would have been no Einstein. We are talking about world changing relativity, not the photoelectric effect which was the only reason the Nobel Prize committee saw fit to honour to Einstein. Newtonian physics can largely be deduced as a local low-speed case of relativity. Both were both gifts to human knowledge.
God or physics?
Both. In my opinion they cover mutually exclusive areas. Physics is great at detailing how things work, and how they are related. It says nothing at all about why. That's where God begins.
Physics or chemistry or biology?
I was deprived of biology because my school made me study German, telling me it was necessary for a physicist because I would be able to read German papers. I have never forgiven them - my German is still pitiful. I have tried to catch up some appreciation of biology without much success. My daughter has made up for it by getting a first-class degree in it at Imperial College (my old college).
Flora or fauna?
Both. Come on, of course. But if it's a choice between a squirrel or a tree, I'll choose the squirrel.
Early bird or night owl?
I'm always late. It's too late for me to change. Most of my best work is done between 2am and 6am. That's just life for me. But I really miss seeing sunrises.
Global warming: doom or hope?
Most of my most knowledgeable scientist friends don't believe that global warming exists. I have still not seen any proof that the planet is increasing in temperature, or that we have a hand in determining such changes. I do think the concept has led to some good changes. such as an increased awareness of how wasteful we are. But lots of people are cashing in on the carbon industry, distracting us from more important issues, such ashow to treat animals.
GM or allotment?
It ought to be both, because it is worth trying to find, say, a way of keeping crops healthy without insecticides. But GM has been poorly controlled, and has found its way into the hands of ruthless exploiters of the Third World. Its evils have outweighed its benefits. I'd vote against it now.
Barbados or the Moon?
Barbados has been so badly screwed up by the British, it's embarrassing. I'm deeply ashamed. My big fear is that we will do the same to the Moon. What a horrible race we are.
Aliens or just humans?
I have not seen any aliens, so I can't compare. But I sincerely hope they have better morals than us. I have a feeling (a very unpopular one at present in astrobiological circles) that the moment of creation of a cell happened only once and all life is derived from this moment. As to whether this happened on Earth, or on some remote planet and delivered to Earth in a meteorite, I do not know. But stranger things have happened.
Nuclear or renewable?
I do not trust nuclear. Correction: I do not trust us with nuclear.
Animal or human testing?
Never on animals. We do not have the right to torture other species. Human volunteers give a much better, and ultimately the only believable, test. I support an initiative which aims to replace all animal testing, mainly with in vitro and computer simulation. Animal torture must stop.
Cryogenics or cremation?
I don't care, really. I don't think our bodies are important except as a temporary home for the soul. And I certainly don't trust present day technology to freeze us in a non-harmful way. OK, cremation.
Afterlife or oblivion?
I'm hoping for an afterlife, but there had better be chocolate.
PC or Mac?
Text or phone call?
Neither. I'm an e-mailer. Texting is too slow, and I am phone-phobic.
Fate or choice?
Choice. I believe we have it.
Prius or Range Rover?
Prius. Actually mine is a Lexus, but what we need is fully electric cars. I believe the nasty, polluting, internal combustion engine has long outstayed its welcome.
Brown or Cameron?
That's maybe the hardest of the lot. Who can you possibly vote for, looking at the choices? One thing is absolutely sure - I will never vote for someone who wants to bring back fox hunting, hare-oursing, and who knows, bear-baiting, cockfighting, slavery, hanging, drawing and quartering? I now understand what the word "conservative" really means. It means looking backwards into the dark past, not forwards to enlightenment.