David Walliams, Lily Cole and Nile Rogers at Stephen Hawking service

Celebrities flock to Westminster Abbey as Stephen Hawking’s ashes are interred alongside Newton and Darwin – and his voice is beamed into black hole light years away

  • Memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking held at Westminster Abbey after his death on March 14
  • Late scientist’s ashes will be buried alongside other great scientists and voice will be beamed into space
  • His words are set to a piece of music composed by Vangelis intended to offer message of peace and hope

Professor Stephen Hawking will have his ashes interred alongside those of great scientists Darwin and Newton

Guests from the science and showbiz worlds including Benedict Cumberbatch, Carol Vorderman and Brian Cox today attended a service paying tribute to the late Professor Stephen Hawking.

Lily Cole, Anita Dobson and Nile Rogers were also at the memorial service at Westminster Abbey in London, alongside comedians Ben Miller and David Walliams.

Nick Mason and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and DailyMail.com US editor-at-large Piers Morgan also attended.

The service will see Mr Hawking’s ashes interred alongside those of great scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, as his voice is beamed into space. 

The late scientist’s words have been set to an original piece of music, composed by Vangelis, for the Service of Thanksgiving, and offer a message of peace and hope, Mr Hawking’s daughter Lucy told the BBC.

‘The broadcast will be beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,’ she said.

‘It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet.’ 

The broadcast in space is set to take place following a service which will feature readings and addresses from various people including Cumberbatch, who played the physicist in a BBC drama, and astronaut Tim Peake. 

Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the physicist in a BBC drama, and his wife Sophie Hunter arrive for the service today

Stephen Hawking’s children Lucy (left) and Timothy Hawking (right) arrive this morning to remember their late father

Carol Vorderman and her daughter Katy (left) arrive at Westminster Service along with model Lily Cole (right)

ITV presenter Charlotte Hawkins (left) and former EastEnders actress Anita Dobson (right) are both at the service today

Mr Hawking’s former wife Jane Hawking with her husband Jonathan Jones (left), and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right)

Actor and comedian David Walliams (left) and musician Nile Rogers (right) are both at the memorial service today

An address will be given by Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, while Mr Hawking’s collaborator and Nobel prize winner Kip Thorne will give a tribute.

Mr Hawking’s children have expressed their gratitude to Westminster Abbey for allowing their father to have a ‘distinguished’ final resting place between the graves of Newton and Darwin.


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One thousand members of the public, from more than 100 countries, were offered the opportunity to attend the thanksgiving service after a ballot attracted 25,000 applications for tickets.

They were welcomed to the abbey in by volunteers from the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games. 

Nick Mason (left) and David Gilmour (right) from Pink Floyd are attending the service at Westminster Abbey today

Comedian and actor Ben Miller (left) and Professor Brian Cox (right) arrive at Westminster Bridge this morning

DailyMail.com US Editor-at-Large Piers Morgan (left) and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney (right) arrive

Astrophysicist Martin Rees (left) and Lord Frederick Windsor (right) arrive for the service at Westminster Abbey

(From left) Jack Smith, 21, Rose Brown, 20, and Jason Felce, 20, all communicate electronically and are among the guests

The memorial stone for Mr Hawking’s grave. Incised is his most famous equation describing the entropy of a black hole

Mr Hawking will be buried near the memorials or graves of biologist Charles Darwin (1), the astronomers John and William Herschel (2 and 4), mathematician James Clark Maxwell (5), penicillin pioneer Howard Walter Florey (3) and genius physicist Michael Faraday (6). Sir Isaac Newton’s memorial is to the right of Faraday’s

Mr Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his 20s, died aged 76 on March 14. A private funeral was held in Cambridge later that month. 

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, has said that the burial of the ashes will form a fundamental element of the service and will not be an afterthought.

Mr Hawking will be laid to rest between Newton, who formulated the law of universal gravitation and laid the foundations of modern mathematics, and Darwin, whose theory of evolution was a major scientific breakthrough.

Internment inside Westminster Abbey is rare. The most recent burials of scientists there were those of Ernest Rutherford, a pioneer of nuclear physics, in 1937, and of Joseph John Thomson, who discovered electrons, in 1940.

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