He was considered to be one of the world’s greatest minds, and now professor Stephen Hawking’s ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey near the graves of fellow esteemed scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
Hawking died at the age of 76 last week, with his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim confirming the sad news in a statement.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, said in a statement (via The Independent): “It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists. Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the Abbey in 1727. Charles Darwin was buried beside Isaac Newton in 1882.”
Hall added: “We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe.”
Other famous scientists said to be buried or memorialized nearby include atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.
The report adds that there will be a private family funeral for Hawking that will take place on Easter Saturday, March 31, at Great St. Mary’s, the University Church in Cambridge. The location was decided upon by his children. A date for the public service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey has yet to be announced.
Fans of Hawking and his many awesome cameos in the world of television will certainly find the connection to Sir Isaac Newton fitting, considering their inclusion together on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Descent.
In the episode, set in 2369, Lieutenant Commander Data creates a holodeck version of Sir Isaac Newton (played by John Neville), Albert Einstein (played by Jim Norton), and Hawking (playing himself) in order to watch how three of the greatest human scientists would interact during a game of poker.
It seems Hawking will remain in very good company indeed.
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