January 20, 2019

Stephen Hawking memorial under way at Westminster Abbey

17 June 2018, 09:05 | Dale Webster

Stephen Hawking's voice to beamed into space at final send-off

British scientist Stephen Hawking attends the launch of The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge eastern England

The words of Professor Stephen Hawking - the scientist who devoted his life to unravelling the mysteries of the universe - will be beamed into space following a service to celebrate his life.

His memorial stone on the abbey's floor, which is sure to become the site of scientific pilgrimages for decades to come, is engraved with the outlines of a black hole as well as an equation that describes a black hole's Hawking radiation.

Around 25,000 people applied to attend the Service of Thanksgiving, according to the Hawking family.

The music, created by Greek electronic composer Vangelis, the man behind the iconic Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire scores, will be played at the memorial service for Professor Hawking on June 15, Cambridge News reported.

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.

The ashes of Stephen Hawking were buried Friday in a corner of Westminster Abbey that honors some of Britain's greatest scientists, between the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.

The European Space Agency said the ceremonial broadcast was beamed toward 1A 0620-00, a binary star system that includes a stellar-mass black hole - which is about 3,500 light-years from Earth.

"It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet", she said in comments obtained by the AP.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, minor canon and sacrist, and said by the Reverend Dr Cally Hammond, dean of Gonville & Caius College, his ex-wife Jane Hawking, Elinor Tatum, University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope OC, and the Reverend Jane Sinclair, canon in residence.

An avowed atheist, Friday's service was nonetheless held at London's giant Westminster Abbey to accommodate large numbers of family, friends and colleagues.

Guests of the service were welcomed by volunteers from the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

British actor Eddie Redmayne arrives at Hawking's funeral.

Interment inside Westminster Abbey is a rarely bestowed honour.

He also hypothesized that miniature black holes, remnants of the big bang, may be strewn through space, though he noted that they haven't been discovered.

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