Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Benedict Cumberbatch paid earthly tribute, but Stephen Hawking's voice is going to deep space

Illustration for article titled Benedict Cumberbatch paid earthly tribute, but Stephen Hawkings voice is going to deep space
Photo: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

Physicist Stephen Hawking passed away back in March of this year, leaving a hole the size of a legendary genius on our planet. Happily, he’s now getting one of the most fitting (and badass) tributes imaginable: His voice is being beamed 3,500 light years away to the edge of a black hole.

Variety reports that today’s earthbound version of a memorial to the wheelchair-confined scientist took place at Westminster Abbey in London, attended by numerous scientists, politicians, and pop-culture luminaries, as well as 1,000 members of the public. (A ballot to win a ticket to the event was entered by more than 25,000 people.) Benedict Cumberbatch—who played Hawking in a 2004 TV movie—gave a reading at the memorial, as did British astronaut Tim Peake, and Hawking’s ashes will be buried alongside the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, probably some of the only company fit to keep up with him intellectually.

Yet as those of us still here on earth celebrated his life, a much more apt and interplanetary honor was being bestowed upon Hawking as well. As CNN reports, an antenna in Spain is beaming a recording of the physicist’s voice out to the nearest known black hole to Earth, roughly 3,500 light years away. Composer Vangelis created a piece of music to accompany the voice recording, a six-and-a-half minute composition which will be made available to the public later this year. The recording will “become locked just outside the black hole,” where it will slowly decompose over millions of years, thanks to the black hole’s evaporation, signaled by emitting—how damn appropriate—a phenomenon called Hawking radiation.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

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