It’s hard to start any sort of Stephen Hawking article without sounding like you’re fawning all over the (now, sadly passed-away) theoretical physicist. He was a true lion of his time. His understanding of time, space, and physics was so incredible that it could be many, many years until someone comes along that’s anywhere close to him. And he was humble enough to go back over his old work and update it, and even to (repeatedly) poke fun at himself. Not many super-brilliant dudes can say that.
On Friday, June 15th, Stephen Hawking was interred at the prestigious Westminster Abbey in London next to Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. Directly following the service, a song featuring an edited version of his 2015 speech at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting and set to music by the German composer Vangelis was beamed into the nearest black hole, named 1A 0620-00, about 3,457 light years away. A copy of the song was also given to attendees at the service. A black hole is a fitting place for his voice to travel to: Hawking had spent much of his life researching black holes, and one can imagine that he’d be a little giddy at the news.
Below is the song, aptly titled ‘The Stephen Hawking Tribue‘. Quite honestly, it’s a stunning tribute. The message “Seize the moment… It can be done” is so needed, so necessary, so acutely accurate in these dark times, that it’s hard to listen to the whole thing without tearing up a little. The full text of the speech is below as well. Godspeed, Mister Hawking.
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 these solutions.
One of the great revelations of the Space Age has been the perspective it 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. Our only boundaries are the way we see ourselves. The only borders, the way we see each other.
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. Without them, the wonder of it all would be lost on me.
Let us fight for every woman and every man to have the opportunity to live healthy, secure lives, full of opportunity and love.
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.