Famed physicist Stephen Hawking passed away last week at the age of 76 — decades longer than doctors expected him live — will be interred in London’s Westminster Abby alongside the graves of other science luminaries such Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
According to a statement released by Dean of Westminster’s the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Hawking’s burial at the site is a “fitting” tribute to the British Scientist’s life’s work.
“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,” Hall said in the statement.
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. Other famous scientists are buried or memorialised nearby, the most recent burials being those of atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940. 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.
Hawking was born in Oxford, England on in 1942 on the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo. Along with fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking combined Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to theorize that space and time began with the big bang and will end being swallowed by black holes. His 1988 book A Brief History of Time sold more than 10 million copies.
In 1963 he was diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease which is usually fatal within a few years but outlived expectations of his life expectancy.
“I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” Hawking once wrote on his website.
The Abbey announced there would also be a “service of thanksgiving” in Hawking’s honor later this year.