Just like Albert Einstein, physicist Stephen Hawking also felt a strong passion for music and for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Rachel Pereda Puñales
During an interview in 1992, the recently deceased scientist expressed that, “Mozart has always been one of my favourites”, and confessed that the Requiem Mass by the Austrian would be the piece that he would take to a desert island.
He asserted that he could listen to it until the batteries died on his player.
The French composer, Francis Poulenc was also amongst Hawking’s favourites. The physicist discovered the piece “Gloria”, debuted in 1961 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, during a meeting in Aspen, Colorado.
From that experience, the scientist remembered that, “As you sit working out what happens when black holes evaporate, you can hear the rehearsals. It’s ideal: it combines my two main pleasures: physics and music”.
Despite his admiration for the classical world, Hawking also listened to other genres with pleasure. “It would surprise you to know that I listen to rock, pop, classical music and opera”, he commented on one occasion.
In July 2015, he said that his favourite rock song was “Have I Told You Lately”, by Rod Stewart and he highlighted “Please, Please Me” by the Beatles as one of the simple essentials in his life.
“Like many others, I embraced The Beatles as a breath of fresh air in the rather stale and sickly scene of popular music,” he said.
Furthermore, Hawking’s voice can be heard in some of the songs by the British prog-rock band, Pink Floyd, who sampled it in the album “The Division Bell” and later used it again in “The Endless River”.
The song “Keep Talking” includes the voice of the British genius from a television ad and his quote “mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures, by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this”.
On the 1st of July 2016, Stephen Hawking performed the song alongside the band Anathema.
He stated that the pleasure he got out of physics when things were going well was far superior to that which he got out of music, but that this only happened on a few occasions throughout a professional career, whereas you can put a record on whenever you fancy.
The guitarist of Queen, Brian May, in his capacity as an astrophysicist had direct contact with Hawking, “He was one of the bravest men I ever met”, he wrote on his Twitter account.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet”, the US rock band, Foo Fighters, commented on its official profile.
“You knew this universe better than the rest of us, and now you play in some far away part of it. You changed the world and left an impact”, asserted Stephen Tyler, musician and vocalist of the group Aerosmith.
According to the hard rock musician, Paul Stanley, the scientist demonstrated that he was a “true genius that never let his mind be stopped by his body’s limitations”.
At 21 years-of-age he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the degenerative disease thought that it would win the battle.
But the scientist, in defiance once again of the common rules, managed to overcome his limitations, come out of the black hole, and conquer the world of science with a daily dose of humour.
He stated that he had had a great time being alive and dedicating himself to research in theoretical physics. He was happy and had contributed something to our understanding of the universe.
So it is worth remembering him with a smile, listening to Mozart’s Requiem or a rock song, so that you never lack the ability to find melodies even in the astonishing world of physics. (PL)