On June 15, 2018, the renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking’s ashes were interred between those of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin during a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.
The Pureland Foundation was honoured to sponsor the unique tribute to Professor Hawking – a recording of his speech, read in his famous synthesised voice and set to an original score composed by Vangelis, best known for the Chariots of Fire theme.
The speech and music recording was beamed into Earth’s nearest black hole in space as a “message of peace and hope”. A copy of the CD was given to all guests after the reception.
The service was attended by guests from the worlds of celebrity, science and politics, as well as 1,000 members of the public. Afterwards, Professor Hawking’s daughter Lucy gave an address and played the recording, telling those assembled: “I would like to introduce my father for the last time”.
Here are the words of Professor Hawking in this recording:
“I am very aware of the preciousness of time. Seize the moment. Act now. I have spent my life travelling 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 the perspective that 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.
“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 travellers 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 Hawking died in March, aged 76, after a long battle with motor neurone disease. His gravestone features his most famous equation describing the make-up of black holes and the words: “Here lies what was mortal of Stephen Hawking”.