Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the Abbey in 1727 while Charles Darwin was buried beside Newton in 1882.
According to sources from him family, the ashes of Professor Stephen Hawking who passed away aged 76 last week, will be interred at Westminster Abbey near the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, it has been announced.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said, “It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists.”
Interestingly, Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the Abbey in 1727 while Charles Darwin was buried beside Isaac Newton in 1882.
According to Reverend Hall, other famous scientists buried or memorialised nearby include atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.
Though his ashes will be interred at Westminster, Professor Hawking’s funeral will take place on Easter Saturday, the 31 March, at Great St Mary’s, the University Church in Cambridge.
The private service will be followed by a memorial close to Gonville & Caius College where the scientist was a member for over 53 years.
In addition a private reception will be held afterwards at Trinity College.
His family said the funeral location was in recognition of “the city that he loved so much and which loved him”.
In a statement, Professor Hawking’s children 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.”
The statement further read, “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.”
They added: “We would like to thank Gonville & Caius College, the University of Cambridge and Trinity College, Cambridge for their assistance with our father’s funeral service.”