Metallica’s James Hetfield now has a PhD in astrophysics


(From Lost at e Minor) Metallica’s lead singer and heavy metal guitarist James Hetfield just put us all to shame by getting a PhD in astrophysics. Oh, and by the way, that’s Dr Hetfield to you.

Hetfield recently finished defending his PhD dissertation at CalTech and made the announcement on Facebook. Apparently, the guy had been attending university on and off for the past 12 years!

“I like playing music because it’s a good living and I get satisfaction from it. But I can’t feed my family with satisfaction,” said Dr Hetfield. “So I figured if Brian May could do it, so could I. Which is why I did this other gig. Turns out, I was pretty good at it.”

And what exactly was his dissertation about? It built on Dr Misty Benz’s 2007 work on black holes and distant quasars by improving light refactoring and the effects of gravity on the Hubble telescope. The study has helped create a crucial breakthrough in the field.

“So that’s the thing,” added Dr Hetfield. “I analyzed micro-lensing in gravitationally lensed quasars to yield measurements of the structure of their continuum emission regions. I first described our lensed quasar monitoring program and RETROCAM, the auxiliary port camera I built for the 2.4m Hiltner telescope to monitor lensed quasars. I know it seems obvious, but the math wasn’t playing out quite right.”

(read the full story)


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