Stephen Hawking’s ashes to be buried near Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin at Westminster Abbey

Physicist’s remains to be interred in thanksgiving service near memorials to other famous scientists

Stephen Hawking’s ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin during a thanksgiving service later this year.

Isaac Newton was buried at the Abbey following his death in 1727, as was naturalist Charles Darwin a century and a half later in 1882.

Hawking, who had motor neurone disease, died at his home in Cambridge on 14 March.

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The dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, said: “It is entirely fitting that the remains of Prof Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists.

“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.”

The placing is particularly fitting as Hawking “was eventually given the prestigious title of Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge - a position once held by Newton - having arrived in 1962 as a PhD student”, says The Guardian.

A private funeral service for the acclaimed physicist "will take place in Cambridge at Great St Mary's, the University Church on 31 March", says the BBC.

Announcing funeral arrangements on the college website, Prof Hawking's children Lucy, Robert and Tim said: “Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years. He was an integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city.

“For this reason, we have decided to hold his funeral in the city that he loved so much and which loved him. Our father's life and work meant many things to many people, both religious and non-religious. So, the service will be both inclusive and traditional, reflecting the breadth and diversity of his life."

No date has yet been announced for the service of thanksgiving.

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