Stephen Hawking, the British physicist who gained international acclaim for his work on black holes, was laid to rest during a service at London’s Westminster Abbey on Friday.
The wheelchair-bound scientist who died in March aged 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe, suffered from motor neurone disease which forced him to use an electronic voice synthesiser.
Members of the public from over 100 countries, selected by a ballot, joined friends and family for the service which included a reading from actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a 2004 BBC film.
Interment inside Westminster Abbey is a rarely bestowed honour. 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.
Around 25,000 people applied to attend the Service of Thanksgiving, according to the Hawking family.
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