• Andrew Buczek

A Dissection of “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, the Most Popular Song About Einstein’s Theories of Spe

Out of all the needlessly overblown classic rock bands, one of the most important and influential of them is Queen. They revolutionized the use of almost cabaret-like song structures, theatrical musical elements, and topped off with one of the all-time best rock singers. They are also well-known for their scientific contributions to theoretical cosmology and astrophysics, which Brian May has a PhD in.

The band intentionally left out most of their scientific ideas in their music for fear of alienating the general public, but it was late in their career that they decided to finally merge both sides, and it resulted in one of the greatest rock songs ever made about relativistic changes in mass and time at speeds exceeding the speed of light.

In this song, Freddie Mercury sings about being a theoretical part of a Type III civilization (under Kardashev’s scale), referred to by Kardashev as a “galactical civilization” which would be able to control energy at the scale of its host galaxy, thus having overcome the barrier of travelling faster than the speed of light.

In the first verse, Mercury writes about the experience of faster-than-light travel as a feeling of “ecstasy”, a sentiment repeated in the song about the euphoria of being able to control the universe at relativistic levels. He refers to himself as a “shooting star leaping through the sky” and “defying the laws of gravity”. He even specifically points out the fact that he is “moving at the speed of light”, a clear reference to a galactic civilization’s ability to move at relativistic velocities.

In the first verse the lyrics also speak about being to “turn the world inside out”. This is a lyric added by Brian May as a reference to a Type III civilization’s ability to alter the velocities of galactic bodies at will, and the effects of mass dilation on Earth at faster-than-light travel. This lyric can be mathematically analyzed and interpreted using common relativistic equations.

The equation for relativistic mass dilation is: where m 0 is the Earth’s “regular” mass, v is the Earth’s velocity relative to the observer, and c is the speed of light.