Stephen Hawking Is Getting a Cosmic Farewell: His Voice Will Be Shot Into a Black Hole
Stephen Hawking passed away just over two months ago, but the legendary theoretical physicist will live on forever through his writings and research on black holes, quantum mechanics, and other topics that are well above most of our comprehension.
Hawking's ashes were interred today between Charles Darwin and Sir Issac Newton during a service at Westminster Abbey, while something even more impressive was done with his voice in space.
Vangelis, the Greek composer best known for composing the Oscar-winning score to the original Blade Runner and that song for the film Chariots of Fire, created an original six-and-a-half-minute piece of music for the ceremony that uses Hawking's voice towards the middle.
With some help from the European Space Agency and the Cebreros antenna in Spain, Vangelis (whose real name is Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou) sent the music into space towards the nearest black hole (1A 0620-00, which is located in a binary system around 3,500 light years away) and also gave it those in attendance on a CD, CNN reports.
There will be a formal release at a later date so that the rest of the world can hear it.
The broadcast of Hawking's voice, according to his daughter Lucy Hawking, is "a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."
She described the composition by Vangelis as a "beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space and his explorations of the universe in his mind."
Hawking himself may have made it into space on an offer from Richard Branson to be a passenger aboard a future Virgin Galactic commercial flight.
But due to delays that have pushed back the initial 2009 launch estimate, that sadly never happened. "And I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space," Hawking said of the possibility.
"I have already completed a zero-gravity flight which allowed me to float weightless. But my ultimate ambition is to fly into space. I thought no one would take me but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately. Since that day I have never changed my mind."
The Vangelis plan is a worthy consolation prize, and we can't wait to hear what that composition sounds like.