World-renowned scholar Stephen Hawking beamed as a hologram inside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, April 25, while he spoke before an audience on the origins of the universe and his vast contributions to science.
The famed physicist and cosmologist also discussed his struggles with ALS, his life when he was growing up and as it was depicted in the film The Theory of Everything.
The film, which earned Eddie Redmayne an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Hawking, was based on a book by Hawking's ex-wife. While Hawking admitted that he was at first apprehensive of the film, he commented that "it was surprisingly honest about our marriage."
Hawking was joined on stage by his daughter and science communicator Lucy Hawking and also by physicist Paul Davies who delivered a brief introduction on the professor.
Toward the end of the lecture, one member from the audience asked Hawking about Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction, its cosmological effect and how it broke the hearts of his fans across the globe.
Hawking, of course, responded from a scientific perspective:
"My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics," said Hawking. "Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe."
"And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction. This girl may like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married," he added.
His appearance as a hologram was actually not his first time, according to Hawking. He recalled his cameo role in Star Trek: The Next Generation where he was playing poker together with Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Commander Data.
The speaking engagement in Sydney was the result of a collaboration between the Opera House and the University of New South Wales with Cisco and its DVE and TelePresence technology.
"We wanted to not only just show the futuristic technology, but also use the same technology we use in production," said Maciej Kranz, Cisco's VP of corporate technology. "What we effectively did is place several TelePresence units in Cambridge in his office, and projected his image and his talk from a couple of different angles."
Stephen Hawking ended his talk with a quote from Captain Kirk of Star Trek: "Now beam me up, Scotty." After saying these words, Hawking's digital image dissolved in an explosion of a beam of light.