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Hawking's Resting Place: Between Darwin, Newton

And his voice was beamed into space
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 15, 2018 2:20 PM CDT
Lucy Hawking lays flowers as the ashes of her father, Stephen Hawking, are laid to rest during his memorial service at Westminster Abbey in London, Friday, June 15, 2018.   (Ben Stansall/PA via AP)
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(Newser) – 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, reports the AP. More than 1,000 people attended a service in the ancient abbey for the physicist, who died in March at age 76 after decades of living with motor neuron disease. "His name will live in the annals of science," astronomer Royal Martin Rees told the memorial service. "Nobody else since Einstein has done more to deepen our understanding of space and time. After the service, Hawking's recorded voice, set to music by Greek composer Vangelis, was beamed into space from a European Space Agency satellite dish in Spain. Hawking's daughter, Lucy, said his words would be aimed at "the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00," more than 3,000 light years from Earth.

Lucy and Hawking's first wife, Jane, were among an eclectic crowd that included scientists, politicians, celebrities, and schoolchildren. The service included a reading by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a BBC drama. Astronaut Tim Peake read from "Queen Mab" by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, which evokes the wonders of the universe. Hawking conducted groundbreaking research into black holes and the origins of the universe and gained global fame as a popularizer and communicator of science. His book A Brief History of Time sold 9 million copies, and he appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, and The Simpsons. "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," said friend Kip Thorne, a Nobel prize-winning American physicist.

(Read more Stephen Hawking stories.)

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