Sunday, 17 June 2018


The late theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking was remembered Friday with a touching and historical tribute by the crossover composer Vangelis, who composed a moving orchestral score, overlaid with the voice of Hawking himself, professing thanks to loved ones and expressing – and encouraging – introspection, hope for the future of scientific research, and peace for both planet and fellow man.

The stunning recording, entitled “Seize the Moment,” was beamed into earth’s nearest black hole, 1A 06200-00 (some 3,457 light years away) during the scientist’s internment at Westminster Abbey, thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency who agreed to broadcast Hawking’s eloquent message into space from it’s satellite dish at Ceberos (in Spain) as a mark of "respect and remembrance." The recording, which is presently traveling at the speed of light, is expected to reach its destination in the year 5475, and it will mark the first ever human interaction with a black hole.

Hawking, who was diagnosed at age 21 with the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), managed to defy the odds - living some 55 years following the diagnosis, shocking the physicians caring for him who had given him the grim prognosis of only two years. He would pass on March 14 of this year. The professor’s ashes were interred during the service – he now lay at rest in between mathematician and fellow physicist Sir Isaac Newton and evolutionist Charles Darwin.

This is not the first time Vangelis has been involved in creating music for the heavens – the Greek composer also provided the official music for NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey on the 23rd October that year, which marked the entry into orbit of it’s spacecraft of the same name. A portion of the live recording from the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens can be heard here on Unraveling Musical Myths.

That monumental recording, entitled “Mythodea” was inspired by NASA's mission to Mars, as the composer known only as Vangelis explained to reporters in 2001:

"I made up the name Mythodea from the words myth and ode. And I felt in it a kind of shared or common path with NASA's current exploration of the planet [Mars]. Whatever we use as a key — music, mythology, science, mathematics, astronomy — we are all working to decode the mystery of creation, searching for our deepest roots."

As for what inspired this latest stellar tribute, Vangelis states:

 “Through sound and music, the language that I know best, I pay tribute and express my high esteem and respect to this extraordinary man.

I imagine he will continue to travel with the same devotion, wherever he may be, in the known unknown. ...”

A CD featuring the historic tribute to Hawking was given to guests and attendees, which included some 1000 members of the public who won seats to the service via ballot.

Speaking to reporters, Hawking’s daughter Lucy expressed her deep gratitude, calling the composition 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."


Listen to the audio below (transcript provided).

“I am very aware of the preciousness of time. Seize the moment. Act now. I have spent my life traveling across the universe inside my mind. Through theoretical physics I have sought to answer some of the great questions but there are other challenges, other big questions which must be answered, and these will also need a new generation who are interested, engaged and with an understanding of science.

How will we feed an ever-growing population, provide clean water, generate renewable energy, prevent and cure disease and slow down global climate change? I hope that science and technology will provide the answers to these questions, but it will take people, human beings with knowledge and understanding to implement the solution. One of the great revelations of the space age has been a perspective that has given humanity on ourselves.

When we see the earth from space we see ourselves as a whole; we see the unity and not the divisions. It is such a simple image, with a compelling message: one planet, one human race.

We are here together, and we need to live together with tolerance and respect.
We must become global citizens.

I have been enormously privileged through my work to be able to contribute to our understanding of the universe. But it would be an empty universe indeed, if it were not for the people I love and who love me. We are all time travelers journeying together into the future. But let us work together to make that future a place we want to visit. Be brave, be determined, overcome the odds.

It can be done. It can be done.”
- Professor Stephen Hawking

External links:

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