Stephen Hawking's Family Announces Public Lottery For Westminister Abbey Service


Stephen Hawking’s family invited members of the public to attend a special service of Thanksgiving that will take place at Westminster Abbey. The “A Brief History of Time” author’s ashes will be buried near Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.   ( Desiree Martin| AFP/Getty Images )

Science aficionados will have the chance to pay their last respects to the late physicist Stephen Hawking on Friday, June 15.

A Service Of Thanksgiving

Hawking’s family announced a lottery that will give 1,000 individuals a chance to honor the theoretical physicist at Westminster Abbey in London, England. The Stephen Hawking Foundation will randomly select the 1,000 admirers who will attend the public portion of a commemoration. People that are looking to participate in the service should visit the Stephen Hawking Foundation website, which would prompt visitors to go an individual site dedicated to the professor’s interment.

Additional Lottery Details

The Stephen Hawking Foundation advised international travelers against entering the lottery if they are unable to get visas to enter the United Kingdom. Hawking’s Service of Thanksgiving also prohibits children ages 12 and under from attending. There are also two options for potential guests to choose. They could request a single invitation or for five passes, which could be used for school groups. The lottery will close at 12 a.m. BST on Tuesday, May 15 (7 p.m. EST on Monday, May 14).

Hawking’s Resting Place

The A Brief History of Time author’s ashes will be placed between two legendary scientists. Hawking’s ashes would be secured near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Other scientists’ tombstones that visitors might encounter on Hawking’s service of thanksgiving are physicist James Prescott Joule and astronomer-author Geoffrey Chaucer.

“The service of thanksgiving for the life and work of Stephen Hawking will celebrate not only his remarkable achievements as a scientist, but also his character and endurance through his years living with a devastating illness,” said the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall to The Independent.

Hawking Headlines

On April 24, Nate D. Sanders Auctions auctioned a book that was autographed by Hawking. The book, the first edition of Brian Bracegirdle’s The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution, was a gift to a departing staff member at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Theoretical Astronomy. Hawking worked at the institute from 1968 to 1973. The starting bid for the book was $28,000.

Family and friends paid their respects to Hawking on March 20 at a private funeral in Cambridge, England. Among the mourners that attended the service included Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Queen member Brian May, and actress Felicity Jones. Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking in the 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything, read a Bible passage.

Days following Hawking’s death, astronomers at Lomonosov Moscow State University discovered a black hole by using their MASTER Global Robotic Net telescope. They were able to find a gamma-ray explosion, which is a reliable indicator of the death of a star and the birth of a new black hole. The team cataloged the discovery in Hawking’s honor.

Tech Times reached out to the Stephen Hawking Foundation for a comment on this story.

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