Hawking rests between Newton, Darwin at Westminster Abbey

London, June 16: The ashes of the late British physicist Stephen Hawking have been laid to rest at London’s iconic Westminster Abbey alongside the graves of two of humanity’s greatest scientists, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, while a satellite dish beamed a recording of his distinctive voice into a black hole in deep space. Relatives, scientists, astronauts, Nobel prize winners, actors and students congregated at the Gothic church on Friday to honour a man who made extraordinary contributions to modern cosmology and helped make the complex world of black holes accessible to the wider public in his trademark didactic and straightforward manner, Efe reported. Among the attendees were some 1,000 people from over 100 countries that were lucky enough to be selected in a draw allowing them access to the solemn farewell to the brilliant astrophysicist, who passed away on Mar. 14 aged 76 in the medieval university city of Cambridge. The high demand for tickets (some 25,000 people took part in the sweep) bespoke Hawking’s enormous popularity all over the world, as his larger-than-life persona transcended the obscure world of academics and became a staple of pop culture, with appearances on “The Simpsons” and an award-winning biopic starring Eddie Redmayne, who was also present at the ceremony.

Hawking’s cremated remains were placed in the abbey’s so-called “Scientists’ Corner,” a section dedicated to the United Kingdom’s most groundbreaking scientists, including Michael Faraday (the discoverer of electromagnetic induction and inventor of the electric dynamo) and James Clerk Maxwell (who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation). Hawking’s tombstone was inscribed with a formula that constitutes his most famous equation, describing the entropy of a black hole. (IANS)