Westminster Abbey is the resting place for kings, queens, prime ministers, writers, artists, and scientists. It will be the final resting place for the ashes of Stephen Hawking. They will be interred next to Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727). He will be the first scientist to be so honored for almost 80 years.

Professor Hawking died on March 14 at the age of 76. He became an astrophysicist of renown, having been restricted to a wheelchair since he was in his 20s because of motor neurone disease.

Other scientists buried in the Abbey include Charles Darwin and atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford (1937) and Joseph John Thomson (1940). Professor Hawking’s funeral is scheduled for the University Church of St. Mary the Great, Cambridge, on March 31. It will be a private service be attended by family, friends, and close colleagues.

“It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists,” said the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev. John Hall. “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.”

John Martin

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