A recording of Stephen Hawking’s voice will be beamed from a satellite into space, toward the nearest black hole, following a memorial service celebrating the renowned astrophysicist.
While Hawking died in March, his ashes will be interred between the remains of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin at London’s Westminster Abbey at the memorial service Friday.
Hawking’s words were set to an original score by Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis. The recording will be beamed into space – towards “the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” Hawking’s daughter Lucy said in a statement (via BBC) – using the European Space Agency satellite dish in Spain.
The transmission is 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,” Lucy Hawking said in a statement.
“It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet.”
Family, friends and the 1,000 members of the public who applied to attend the Westminster Abbey service will receive a CD copy of the Hawking/Vangelis recording. The memorial service will also feature readings of Hawking’s works by Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrayed the cosmologist in a BBC drama, and astronaut Tim Peake.