1000 Free Tickets are Being Provided for Stephen Hawking’s Memorial Service
Stephen Hawking’s memorial service will take place at Westminster Abbey in London. His family along with the Stephen Hawking Foundation are giving out 1,000 tickets to the public for the event that will be held to celebrate the life of the acclaimed British physicist, who was known as much for skills at communicating science as his sums.
During the service, on Friday June 15, Hawking’s ashes will be buried between the graves of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. The event will spotlight his scientific contributions and passion for public education. Tickets are available as part of a ballot which closes May 15.
Elizabeth Forrester, executive director of the Stephen Hawking Foundation, told Newsweek that within the first 10 hours of the website going live, this past Wednesday, over 5,000 people applied for tickets.
Hawking died at the age of 76 on March 14 after a 50 year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Throughout his career he generated revolutionary scientific work and brought complex cosmological ideas into the public eye with his bestselling book, A Brief History of Time. His last-ever scientific paper was published last week.
Forrester said that the service of thanksgiving would be relatively traditional with readings and a full choir. Famous attendees should include British astronaut Tim Peake, who spent six months on the International Space Station from December 2015 until June 2016.
Forrester explained that children would be an important part of the service but it’s not suitable for anyone under the age of six. On top of selling individual tickets, small groups of children accompanied by at least one adult can apply to attend the service.
The Stephen Hawking Foundation is trying to get more kids interested in science; funding space camps, online resources and teaching support. The foundation was set up to promote physics research and motor neurone disease support work.
Hawking’s funeral was held earlier this year at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge, U.K. It included a reading from British actor Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in autobiographical film The Theory of Everything.
The Westminster Abbey service of thanksgiving is positioned as “a moment in history,” on the ticket ballot website. If you want to apply to attend, you’ll need to fill out a short form at www.stephenhawkinginterment.com. The Stephen Hawking foundation will notify the lucky winners on May 16.
The ballot website states that all those unable to arrange travel and visas should not apply for tickets.
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