Hawking's voice beamed into space during London burial

Hawking's voice beamed into space during London burial

Stephen Hawking

A message from late British astrophysics giant Stephen Hawking was beamed towards the nearest black hole on Friday as his remains were laid to rest in London's Westminster Abbey.

With celebrities and science enthusiasts from around the world in attendance, the ashes of the theoretical physicist were interred by the graves of fellow science greats Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Deborah Trevino, 65, who came from Las Vegas with her husband for the ceremony, said the wheelchair-bound scientist was "one of those minds that should always be remembered".

A specially-written musical piece by Greek composer Vangelis featuring Hawking's famous synthesised voice was beamed into space by radio waves from a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite dish in Spain.

The ESA said the six-minute message, which is drawn from a speech Hawking gave about preserving the planet, was being transmitted towards the black hole 1A 0620-00, which was discovered in 1975 and is located 3,500 light years from Earth.

"This 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," said his daughter Lucy Hawking.

"It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet," she said.

Hawking, who suffered from Motor Neurone Disease, dedicated his life's work to unravelling the mysteries of the universe and fought to overcome his disability.

The memorial stone placed on top of Hawking's grave included his most famous equation describing the entropy of a black hole.

"Here Lies What Was Mortal Of Stephen Hawking," read the words on the stone, which included an image of a black hole.

Hawking, who captured the imagination of millions around the world, died on March 14 at the age of 76.

Propelled to stardom by his 1988 book "A Brief History of Time", an unlikely worldwide bestseller, Hawking's genius and wit won over fans from far beyond the rarefied world of astrophysics.