Friday, the ashes of Stephen Hawking were buried in Westminster Abbey, a place that honors the greatest scientists in the UK. His ashes were buried between the graves of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
At the service, there were over 1,000 people who attended in the memory of the renowned physicist. He died in March at 76 years old after living with motor neuron disease for over five decades. At only 22 years old, he was diagnosed with it, and doctors expected he would live for only a few years. However, Hawking lived unexpectedly longer than doctors could imagine and he made a name for himself by becoming a famous scientist and researching the origins of the universe and black holes. He wrote “A Brief History of Time,” which was sold in 9 million copies, and he even made appearances in movies or TV series like “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Simpsons.”
“…the most stubborn friend I ever had”
Astronomer Royal Martin Rees said in the memorial service:
“His name will live in the annals of science. Nobody else since Einstein has done more to deepen our understanding of space and time. Millions have had their horizons widened by his books and lectures, and even more worldwide have been inspired by a unique example of achievement against all the odds.”
Among the ones present at the memorial, there were Hawking’s first wife Jane and daughter Lucy, scientists, schoolchildren, politicians (Matt Hancock, Jeremy Corbyn), Nile Rogers, Lily Cole, David Walliams and Piers Morgan.
There were also 1,000 members of the public that were accepted after application (they were chosen form 25,000 applicants).
Back in March, Hawking’s funeral service was private, held in Cambridge, where he lived and worked for decades.
American physicist and Nobel prize winner, Kip Thorne said that Hawking was “by far the most stubborn friend I ever had. He absolutely refused to let his physical disability get in the way of doing great science or get in the way of having great fun.”
The service ended with Hawking’s words, accompanied by music composed by Vangelis, were beamed into space from a satellite dish belonging to the European Space Agency. Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, said that her father’s voice would go to “the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00,” which is over 3,000 light years from our planet.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.