Stephen Hawking's ashes to be interred at Westminster Abbey

Professor Stephen Hawking's ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

The renowned theoretical physicist, who had motor neurone disease, died on March 14 aged 76. A private funeral service will be held at Great St Mary's, the University of Cambridge Church on March 31, Prof Hawking's family said.

This will be followed by a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey later this year.

Stephen Hawking lived with motor neurone disease and died on March

The Dean of Westminster said the location for his internment was 'entirely fitting' and said it was 'vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe'.

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. Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the abbey in 1727. Charles Darwin was buried beside Isaac Newton in 1882.

'Other famous scientists are buried or memorialised nearby, the most recent burials being those of atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.'

Announcing the details of the funeral arrangements, 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.'

Since his death some have claimed the great scientist, who was an atheist, converted after meeting the pope. This has been debunked.