Stars arrive at Westminster Abbey for Stephen Hawking service

Pablo Tucker
June 17, 2018

During the ceremony his ashes will be buried alongside other great scientists like Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.

25,000 people from more than 100 countries applied to receive one of the 1,000 tickets that allowed members of the public to attend the service.

Greek composer Vangelis - yes, the "Chariots of Fire" guy - set the physicist's voice to an original piece of music for the occasion.

The broadcast in space will take place following a service featuring readings from Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the physicist in a BBC drama, and astronaut Tim Peake.

Newton formulated the law of universal gravitation and laid the foundations of modern mathematics, while Darwin's theory of evolution was one of the most far-reaching scientific breakthroughs of all time.


Prof Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his 20s, died aged 76 on March 14.

Friday's service attended by family, friends and colleagues will celebrate not only his achievements as a scientist, but also his character and endurance living with a devastating illness.

Professor Günther Hasinger, the European Space Agency's director of science, said: "It is fascinating and at the same time moving to imagine that Stephen Hawking's voice together with the music by Vangelis will reach the black hole in about 3,500 years, where it will be frozen in by the event horizon".

Hawking's first wife Jane and daughter Lucy were among an eclectic crowd that included scientists and schoolchildren; politicians including U.K. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn; Chic guitarist Nile Rogers; actress Lily Cole; comedian David Walliams; and talk-show host Piers Morgan.

The organ was played by Peter Holder, sub-organist, and before the service by Benjamin Cunningham, organ scholar.


Guests will be welcomed by volunteers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony, in which Hawking starred.

The universe that Stephen Hawking spent a lifetime studying now knows his voice.

Hawking was also a pop culture icon, appearing in several TV series playing himself, including "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and American cartoon sitcom "The Simpsons".

American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne speaking at the memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking, at Westminster Abbey in London, Friday June 15, 2018.


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