World renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died on March 14 at the age of 76. Hawking captured the imaginations of millions across the world with his theories about space and time. Hawking was a visionary genius who gave us new perspective on our universe. His work focused on bringing together relativity, the nature of space and time, the quantum theory, particle behaviour and his explanations on how the universe was created has inspired every scientist out there. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease when he was 21 years old. The disease gradually robbed him of his mobility but that didn't stop him from becoming the world's most renowned scientists. Though his disease meant being confined to a wheelchair, Hawking still travelled the world and visited almost every continent to attend scientific meetings.
Although Hawking was an athiest, his family chose the church of St Mary the Great in Cambridge for his funeral today. The church bell tolled 76 times, in honour of each year of his life. The funeral was a private event of 500 attended by known names and faces from all over the world. His death triggerred tributes from the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and NASA. Thousands of people took to the streets of Cambridge to pay their respects to the renowned scientist.
The funeral was attended by the likes of Eddie Redmayne, who played the role of the professor in 'The Theory of Everything' inspired by Hawkings research. The guestlist included celebrities like Brian May, Anita Dobson, Dara O Briain, Elon Musk, Alan Bennett, Felicity Jones, Lily Cole, Charlotte Hawkins among others.
1. Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim said "On behalf of our whole family we want to express our huge gratitude to all the wonderful tributes to our father and to those who have sent us messages of condolence. 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."
2. "We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family” said Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in the 2014 biopic The Theory Of Everything.
3. Prof Faye Dowker said in her eulogy at the funeral "Stephen shared his work and his zest for the fundamental questions it addressed with wide audiences. He inspired people with the excitement and importance of pure scientific enquiry and was admired and revered for his devotion, as a scholar, to the pursuit of knowledge. This high regard was demonstrated wherever in the world he gave a public lecture: the auditorium was always packed, the atmosphere electric and the applause thunderous. Stephen was my teacher, mentor and friend. I, like many who knew and loved him, had come to think of him as immortal and our sorrow is tinged with a feeling of disbelief that he is no longer here. But his influence and legacy will live forever"
4. Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Professor Stephen Hawking was a brilliant and extraordinary mind - one of the great scientists of his generation. His courage, humour, and determination to get the most from life was an inspiration. His legacy will not be forgotten."
5. Space Agency NASA tweeted: "Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we and the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014."
6. Cambridge mayor George Pippas said: "I am saddened to learn of Professor Hawking’s death. His academic achievements were remarkable, and his life story was an inspiration to so many. As well as being a renowned physicist he was one of our city’s most prominent figures. His life and work will be remembered by people around the world and not least in Cambridge."
7. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who also played Hawking on screen, said: "He virtually created the publishing genre of popular science: a heroic feat to bring the wondrous complexities of the universe to all outside of specialists in this field."
8. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: "I am very sorry to hear that the world and Cambridge has lost the wonderful Stephen Hawking - an inspirational scientist, with a powerful social conscience."
9. British astronaut Tim Peake said: "He inspired generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe. His personality and genius will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family."
10. Professor Brian Cox said: "Sad to hear about Stephen Hawking. What a remarkable life. His contributions to science will be used as long as there are scientists, and there are many more scientists because of him. He spoke about the value and fragility of human life and civilisation and greatly enhanced both."
You live in our hearts and minds, Professor!
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