Stars at Westminster Abbey for Stephen Hawking service

Stephen Hawking's words to be beamed in space today

Stephen Hawking's voice to beamed into space at final send-off

Hawking's ashes were interred today between Charles Darwin and Sir Issac Newton during a service at Westminster Abbey, while something even more impressive was done with his voice in space.

His memorial stone on the abbey's floor, which is sure to become the site of scientific pilgrimages for decades to come, is engraved with the outlines of a black hole as well as an equation that describes a black hole's Hawking radiation. It will feature readings and speeches, including from the actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Hawking in a drama series on British television.

His daughter, Lucy, and first wife Jane Hawking, were among those who laid flowers, while a medal created by the Stephen Hawking Foundation was also placed in the grave next to the wooden casket.

"The broadcast will be beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star", she added.

CNN reports that besides friends and colleagues who attended the service in the Abbey, a lottery was held for 1,000 public tickets, which 25,000 people from 100 countries applied for.

Hawking lived with motor neurone disease, a debilitating neurological illness, and lost the use of his vocal chords in the 1980s.

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TV personalities David Walliams and Piers Morgan, musician Nile Rodgers and Professor Brian Cox have joined members of the public to celebrate the life of the scientist.

There were also tributes from Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and Nobel prize victor Kip Thorne. Cumberbatch played the part of Hawking in a movie depicting the early years of the scientist.

Hawking conducted groundbreaking research into black holes and the origins of the universe, and gained global fame as a popularizer and communicator of science.

American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne speaking at the memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking, at Westminster Abbey in London, Friday June 15, 2018. He was also immortalized in pop culture, with appearances in "The Simpsons" and "The Big Bang Theory".

"I'm going to be an actress; everybody who puts their mind to something gets to be it. Stephen Hawking proved that more than anyone".

Guests attending Hawking's service will be welcomed by volunteers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony, which Hawking starred in.

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