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Stephen Hawking's voice sent into space toward a black hole

By Ed Adamczyk
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The voice of physicist Stephen Hawking, coupled with music by the composer Vangelis, will be broadcast into space and toward a black hole. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The voice of physicist Stephen Hawking, coupled with music by the composer Vangelis, will be broadcast into space and toward a black hole. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- The voice of physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March, will be beamed into space toward a black hole, the European Space Agency announced.

His pre-recorded words are accompanied by music by Greek composer Vangelis, who wrote the scores to the films Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire.

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The audio package was set to be broadcast by a transmitter in Spain to IA 0620-00, the nearest known black hole to Earth, following a service Friday honoring Hawking in London's Westminster Abbey.

Hawking's ashes were interred at the church between the bodies of British scientists Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

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About 1,000 people, selected through a lottery, received invitations to attend the memorial service. Hawking died on March 14 at age 76.

Hawking lived with motor neurone disease, a debilitating neurological illness, and lost the use of his vocal chords in the 1980s. Seated in a motorized wheelchair, he spoke with the assistance of a computer, giving his words a robot-like quality he chose not to upgrade as speech technology improved. With his distinctive voice, Hawking's breakthrough observations on black holes and his advocacy of science were recognizable and popular with the public.

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Daughter Lucy Hawking called the pairing of Vangelis' music and her father's words 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. It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."

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Hawking was a professor at the University of Cambridge and primarily studied black holes and the theory of relativity. The book A Brief History of Time is the best-known of several books he wrote for a general audience.

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