@mergerecords NPR’s Science Friday talks to Dan Snaith about @caribouband and mathematics! http://www.sciencefriday.com/arts/2010/10/math-x-music-caribou/
It turns out that Dan Snaith, who is essentially the electronic band Caribou, has a PhD in mathematics. (According the math genealogy project he received a PhD in number theory in 2005, Kevin Buzzard was his thesis advisor, and the title of his dissertation was Overconvergent Siegel Modular Symbols).
I was aware of some other musicians that had PhDs, but I wondered how long the list was. So today I did some internet research and came up with the following list of rocking academicians. (I wonder if the School of Rock has a PhD program…[Update: I forgot that Yo La Tengo attended the Academy of Rock.]) I tried to get this information from reliable sources, but in the end it was all “internet research.” Please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong. If you know of others, leave them in the comments.
I was happy to discover that quite a few of these musicians are from bands I like a lot (Bedhead, The New Year, The Velvet Underground, Ladytron, Squirrel Bait, The Descendents, etc.).
- Daniel Snaith (Caribou)—Mathematics, Imperial College of London
- Gregg Turner (Angry Samoans)—Mathematics, Claremont Graduate University (currently teaches at New Mexico Highlands University) (Read this story of his tenure denial and firing form NMHU followed by his law suit, subsequent legal settlement, and eventual tenure announcement.)
- Ethan Port (Savage Republic)—Mathematics, University of Southern California
- Phil Alvin (The Blasters)—Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles
- Gregg Gaffin (Bad Religion)—Zoology, Cornell University (currently a lecturer at UCLA)
- Brian May (Queen)—Astrophysics, Imperial College of London
- David Macklovitch (Chromeo)—French literature, Columbia University
- Drew Daniel (Matmos)—English, University of California, Berkeley (currently teaches at Johns Hopkins University)
- Milo Aukerman (The Descendents)—Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year)—History, Brown University (currently teaches at Hobart and William Smith College)
- Tench Coxe (Bedhead)—Russian literature, Columbia University
- Sterling Morrison (The Velvet Underground)—Medieval studies, University of Texas, Austin
- Steven Taylor (The Fugs)—Ethnomusicology, Brown University (currently teaches at Naropa University)
- Mira Aroyo (Ladytron)—Molecular biology, Oxford University
- Warren Zanes (The Del Fuegos)—Visual and cultural arts, University of Rochester (now VP of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
- David Grubbs (Squirrel Bait, Bastro, Gatr del Sol)—English, University of Chicago
- Graeme Downes (The Verlaines)—Music, University of Otago (currently teaches at the University of Otago)