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Jun 15, 2018: Time travellers to attend memorial service for Stephen Hawking?

UNITED KINGDOM - Time travellers may join invited guests and 1,000 members of the public at a service of thanksgiving for the life of Professor Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned theoretical physicist who died in March at the age of 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe.

The world’s most recognizable scientist died after a long battle with motor neurone disease, contracted at the age of 21. Undaunted, he dedicated his working life to exploring the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself.

Hawking’s family wanted to give some of his admirers the chance to remember him, and invited members of the public to apply for tickets to attend the memorial service at Westminster Abbey, where his ashes will be interred between the graves of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Within 24 hours of the ballot opening in May around 12,000 people from more than 50 countries applied for tickets. They included people from the U.S. and Canada, India, China, Bolivia, and the tiny South Pacific islands of Tuvalu – and potentially, time travellers. Applicants were required to fill in a form and state their date of birth, which could be any day up to the end of 2038.

The option to have a date of birth in the future was spotted by London blogger ianvisits who wrote on his site: “Professor Hawking once threw a party for time travellers, to see if any would turn up if he posted the invite after the party. None did, but it seems perfect that the memorial website allows people born in the future to attend the service. Look out for time travellers at the Abbey.”

The ballot closed on May 15.

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

#22624 Published: 05/15/2018

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