How booorrrring! He at least should be placed in a rocket aimed at the big black hole in the center of our galaxy.
The ashes of British physics ace Professor Stephen Hawking will be placed in Westminster Abbey after a special service of thanksgiving for his life. Hawking died at the age of 76 last week after a long struggle with motor neuron disease and was cremated. His ashes will be placed in the abbey, in London, England, between the …
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:04 GMT Voland's right hand
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:22 GMT Sandtitz
"It is a question of the highest honor a nation can endow to a person posthumously. In Great Britain it is the Westminster Abbey."
Highest honor? Annual national public holiday for "Stephen Hawking day" would eclipse that any time. Years to come those apart from Darwin, Newton and perhaps Hawking - all those other scientists buried at Westminster are only footnotes whereas a Hawking Holiday would make him rather immortal.
Or perhaps erecting a statue at Trafalgar Square. Founding (ok, unlikely) or renaming cities. Or naming the killer Asteroid coming straight at us.
Thursday 22nd March 2018 22:24 GMT Pen-y-gors
A public holiday? Nice idea but I can't see our beloved government agreeing - what? letting workers have a day off - with pay??? Think what that will do to the dividends! And anyway, they won't let the Scots have St Andrews Day, the Welsh St David's Day or the English St George's day. Pity though.
At least name a Cambridge College after him. Or a spin-out company? Hawking Analytica?
Thursday 22nd March 2018 23:39 GMT Antron Argaiv
Thursday 22nd March 2018 23:54 GMT Danny 2
Britain's highest honour?
Hawking wasn't even knighted, even Ringo Starr is a Sir. Seb Coe was made a Lord.
Richard Dawkins complained recently that people mistake him for Hawking - aye, he wishes. Let's bury Dawkins at Westminster Abbey, alive, at least up to his neck. If information isn't lost then can we really die, at least if we post here enough?
I hope one of Hawking's fans create a mini black hole that swallows up the abbey.
Friday 23rd March 2018 12:32 GMT Just Enough
It's not so much that his ashes are being put in Westminster Abbey, it's that there will be a "Service of Thanksgiving". Thanking who?
Here's a man who spent his life as an atheist, but now he's dead the god-squad muscle in. Giving thanks to a entity he didn't believe in, and co-opting their mythology onto his science work, "together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe".
I've no problem with people choosing to have religious services on their death, if that's what they believed and wished. I'm fine if it is all for the benefit of friends of family. But having these performances upon the death of those who specifically refuted them seems extremely disrespectful.
Friday 23rd March 2018 16:25 GMT Tom 7
Friday 23rd March 2018 04:01 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 23rd March 2018 11:43 GMT AJ MacLeod
Re: "There is no heaven or afterlife..."
Er... your reasoning is rather obviously flawed. Try to think back to when you were one year old; virtually nobody can remember anything at all from that period in their life and yet they were demonstrably extant and experiencing things in a more vivid way than they ever would again...
Friday 23rd March 2018 13:10 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: "There is no heaven or afterlife..."
I admire your debating technique. It's an amazing skill to be able to consciously ignore the massive central point being made about the very definition of one's existance, and then attempt a rebuttal based on some extraneous tidbit. Your point seems to sort-of (not really) work in words, but clearly not in logic. You'll go far in politics. :-)
With the goal of dragging your "thinking" back onto the rails, you may restructure the major point around the following alternate presentation:
Imagine others' observation of you exactly one year before your birth. Etc
Inevitable conclusion: the very existence of your soul in the Universe is very likely finite and symmetric around your physical life. Your pre-conception and post-death existances are almost certainly to be precisely-equivalent voids.
So, enjoy it while it lasts. One day it'll all go black
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:41 GMT AJ MacLeod
Re: "There is no heaven or afterlife..."
"With the goal of dragging your "thinking" back onto the rails, you may restructure the major point around the following alternate presentation:
Imagine others' observation of you exactly one year before your birth."
OK, if you insist we move from our original frame of reference (our own experience) to another; you are making the altogether unprovable and in many ways irrational assumption that every aspect of our being (including the non-physical "soul" / "sentient self") can be detected and measured and is subject to the same limitations as matter, which it almost certainly isn't.
I am quite enjoying "it" while it lasts and making the most of it while I can, but I have reason to believe that much still better awaits - as old Blaise pointed out, my worst case scenario is apparently a great deal less bad than yours so I hope for your sake you have an epiphany in time :)
Monday 26th March 2018 00:49 GMT PatrickEB
Re: "There is no heaven or afterlife..."
To AJ McLeod
"Er... your reasoning is rather obviously flawed"
Not at all. You're not alive after you die. You're not alive before you're born. Your certainly not even close to being alive a year before your parents met.
Hence the accuracy of the claim.
You're referring to a period when by any standard a person would agree another was alive.
Thursday 22nd March 2018 20:53 GMT Anonymous Coward
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:14 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 23rd March 2018 13:17 GMT Anonymous Coward
"Science admits when it's wrong."
Not without a fight.
Science as a concept is (of course) optimum. As implemented and conducted by humans, it is not really optimum.
Scientific facts have a Half-Life. They degrade over time. Witness the idiotic antics of the Dietary Health field.
For what it's worth, religions evolve too. Even the slightest familiarity with the history of any religion leads directly to an inability of any logical thinker to take it seriously.
Common element with these, humans. They're not as clever as they think.
Friday 23rd March 2018 02:08 GMT bombastic bob
"Prove me wrong"
science is based on the scientific method; that is:
e) analysis (proof or disproof of hypothesis)
The experimental part needs to be repeatable by others in order to be considered 'science'.
Prof Hawking worked on the 'theory' and 'hypothesis' parts, for sure, and the math may be part of 'experimentation' and 'analysis'. Others will experiment, no doubt, to prove or disprove his theories.
So science doesn't require "a leap of faith". Science requires experimental proof. Or disproof.
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:01 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:08 GMT David Nash
"science can never prove (or disprove) the existence of God.."
The burden of proof is on those making the claim, not on others to disprove it.
Anyway, if a scientist set up something that he claimed would invoke God, and a big hand came out of the sky and shot a lightning bolt, and that was repeatable and got published and peer reviewed....perhaps that would be Science proving the existence of God.
But then the religious would probably redefine God to get out of it. As Douglas said, "Without faith I am nothing said God, and disappeared in a puff of logic."
Friday 23rd March 2018 15:25 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 23rd March 2018 20:49 GMT mattje
Sunday 25th March 2018 12:08 GMT Asterix the Gaul
"Science requires experimental proof. Or disproof
Which is why science can never prove (or disprove) the existence of God.".
'SCIENCE' has NEVER postulated the existence of 'god'.
The 'BURDEN -OF-PROOF ' in this case lies with 'RELIGION'.
'RELIGION' can NEVER prove that existence.
That is because 'Religion' = 'FAITH', which equates with FALSE CONCLUSIONS.
SCIENCE seeks TRUTH.
RELIGION abides with the LIE.
'SCIENCE' = SIGMA - 5.
'RELIGION' = SIGMA - 0
Friday 23rd March 2018 04:48 GMT Tim Seventh
Friday 23rd March 2018 10:32 GMT tiggity
A lot of science requires lots of tedious drudgery - be it observation (e.g. ecology / animal behaviour etc.), lab work (e.g. testing novel compounds behaviour against cancer cells) etc.
Theoretical physics is quite different to a lot of science as many theories are hard to test due to us not having the skills / knowledge to build suitable measuring / particle production yet - so you get lots of ideas thrown around that are hard to disprove.
Your everyday journeyman science is not really leap of faith based - yes people have a novel idea, but then its normally quite straightforward (if sometimes slow, expensive, difficult) to conduct experiments to see if the idea has legs
As for leap of faith, Hawking has admitted many of his early theories were wrong - that's science in a nutshell - if your idea is disproved / improved upon (e.g. Newtons laws of motion are great at "normal" conditions but break down in more extreme scenarios which were not really thought about at the time & currently relativity helps to "expand" Newtons ideas by helping explain), then great, it means we now know more than we did.
Plus science is typically collaborative, if you are researching cancer cures you fervently hope (for peoples benefit) your work is improved upon in future (that may be at odds with teh accountants and their ideas of patents etc. !)
Friday 23rd March 2018 10:52 GMT handleoclast
Leap of faith
Science and Religion both require belief or a leap of faith.
Science constantly checks its assumptions, religion does not. In science, proving established theory wrong gets you a Nobel Prize. In religion, proving established doctrine wrong gets you burned at the stake.
In science, when new facts contradict your theory, the theory is wrong. In religion (or any other ideology), when new facts contradict your sacred book, the facts are wrong.
Science relies upon facts and evidence to make deductions. Religion uses faith, which is belief with no evidence to support it (at best) or belief in contradiction of the evidence (at worst).
There is no similarity between the two.
Friday 23rd March 2018 12:24 GMT Anonymous Coward
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:04 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: Leap of faith
>Not all religion involves faith
Yes. Yes it really does.
>it is possible to practice the religion without faith
No. It really isn't.
Sure, you can give the outward appearance of being religious without having any faith but to actually be religious you have to have faith.
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:06 GMT David Nash
Re: Leap of faith
"what matters to most members of a religion is the community, not the theology"
I have seen no evidence to suggest that at all.
Why build the big towers pointing to the man in the sky then? or all the images and statues of the supposed miracles and messiah? Why pray/sing to God when people get married in church? Why have "thanksgiving" as someone else pointed out, thanking whom?
What you've said it not true at all. If someone said "I am religious but don't believe in God (or A God)" they'd be laughed out of church or the equivalent (if they were lucky).
Sunday 25th March 2018 20:53 GMT John Brown (no body)
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:08 GMT macjules
Friday 23rd March 2018 06:06 GMT Doctor Evil
Re: C’mon Elon
"Bet you can spare at least one older model Falcon rocket to send the genius to his final resting place."
And give it a trajectory that will make Prof. Hawking the first man to leave the solar system, forever to wander among the stars that so engaged his imagination and excited his curiosity.
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:11 GMT Mayday
Thursday 22nd March 2018 21:53 GMT SVV
No problem with the abbey, big problem with the "justification"
""We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe."
You may believe that it is vital. I just don't see what religion is going to bring to such an effort that will be of any use whatsoever for the scientists. The scientists on the other hand can explain to you that the story explaining these things in your holy book is utter twaddle.
Thursday 22nd March 2018 22:27 GMT Pen-y-gors
Thursday 22nd March 2018 23:41 GMT Blofeld's Cat
Friday 23rd March 2018 01:41 GMT Oengus
Friday 23rd March 2018 02:52 GMT Winkypop
Friday 23rd March 2018 06:37 GMT Dodgy Geezer
Re: Way to go Mr Hawking!
...And I wouldn't want it any other way....
Actually, I would have preferred to have been made by a bevy of Swedish beauties in bikinis dancing to a Santana solo and cavorting in a Balinese lagoon. But like the rest of us I suppose I will have to make do with being built in a large hot pile of cosmic rubbish....
Friday 23rd March 2018 05:38 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re. Way to go Mr Hawking
More like colliding neutron stars, for heavy elements like Hg, Ag and Au.
Incidentally Hawkings equations can be used to predict how neutron stars behave when they collide, its not quite the same as a black hole event horizon but the math is very similar.
Also relevant is the use of the very same equations to improve the accuracy and detectability of GPS satellites and Wifi signal as extracting tiny signals from the noise is normally quite hard.
Friday 23rd March 2018 07:44 GMT arthoss
Friday 23rd March 2018 09:17 GMT wolfetone
It's Friday. It's the end of the week. I take solace in the bossom of El Reg on such a day to while away the hours until I can legally leave my job without being docked pay, and enjoy the fruits of my labours tonight in the bossom of a lovely bottle of red wine or 12 pack of beer.
However, my peace is destroyed whenever religion is mentioned along side science on the site. Not because I believe in one more than the other or don't believe in anything or everything, but it's how such articles really do bring out the worst of the commentards here in both camps. And comments turn in to long streams of poison and futility, and it really does ruin the day.
Friday 23rd March 2018 10:50 GMT Demetrov
Do we have any more of the "Greats", the "Giants" of Science/Physics left?
He was a Newton, an Einstein, a Galileo level Great.
Do we have any more of that calibre left or in the making/maturing to that level of greatness?
Rest in Carbonised Stardust, Sir Hawking's - may we one day use a particle of Your remains in a super collider to smash into another.
Friday 23rd March 2018 11:26 GMT Dr. G. Freeman
"Do we have any more of that calibre left or in the making/maturing to that level of greatness?"
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, Harvard- High Energy Physics- being touted as the "Next Einstein"
Alice Zhang, UCLA - Genetics and Medicine
Barry Mant, UCL- Chemistry
Terry Tao, UCLA - Maths
Friday 23rd March 2018 11:52 GMT AJ MacLeod
"He was a Newton, an Einstein, a Galileo level Great."
No. He wasn't remotely close. Undeniably he was a very clever chap and (for a scientist) brilliant at getting his opinions broadcast, but in the end of the day his actual useful scientific output was virtually nil, and not worthy of even being mentioned in the same breath as Newton and Einstein.
Friday 23rd March 2018 11:48 GMT Chronos
Friday 23rd March 2018 13:57 GMT Anonymous Coward
Lack of belief in an immortal soul
..does not imply that you are not Christian. Especially as none of the 1st Century Christians believed in immortal souls - it was an idea that got implanted into the early church from pagan beliefs.
Much like the concept of a trinity. And a literal devil. None are in Biblical Christianity. And, as a Christian myself, I don't believe in an immortal soul - the biblical hope is resurrection.
(Yes, I know that theology isn't likely to be a core skill round here but I thought it worth mentioning)
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:14 GMT David Nash
Re: Lack of belief in an immortal soul
If you believe in resurrection what else is being resurrected but an immortal soul?
You're grasping at technicalities to try to justify the fact that you claim (by way of being Christian) to believe in magic, which is clearly unjustifiable except via the fact that lots of other people claim the same.
Personally I suspect that many of them believe no such thing and are therefore not actually Christian at all.
Friday 23rd March 2018 14:15 GMT David Nash
Friday 23rd March 2018 19:33 GMT Electric Panda
There's likely another reason for this...
There is another reason why his family might want his ashes interred in Westminster Abbey and it's very simple: Hawking had a large following of very strange people and a public grave in a Cambridge cemetery (there's one off Huntingdon Road that contains the remains of other high-IQ individuals), containing his intact body, would attract these people and it would turn into a ghoulish shrine. Think selfies, inappropriate behaviour, perhaps some crackpot with a spade. At the end of the day, Stephen Hawking was a brother, husband and (grand)father who deserves peace and dignity in death.
Westminster Abbey is much easier to secure and in some ways a bit more discreet. There can be plenty of public tributes and memorials to Hawking, but his final resting place is nobody's business. The fact that he's interred alongside other scientists is a fitting tribute in itself.
And contrary to popular belief, Hawking wasn't an arch-atheist at all. I doubt he would have complained too much at the prospect of being interred in a religious building.
Friday 23rd March 2018 20:01 GMT Chronos
Re: There's likely another reason for this...
And contrary to popular belief, Hawking wasn't an arch-atheist at all.
It's the similarity between "Hawking" and "Dawkins" that caused this myth.
Personally, I'm no arch-atheist either. I just take exception to organised religion which, when you drill down deep enough, starts looking like control freakery, justification for exploitation and increasingly less adherence to any of its own rules the further you get up the hierarchy. I'm sure the almighty has more honesty, dignity and compassion than some people would make it appear.
Saturday 24th March 2018 04:10 GMT Anonymous Coward
Please Please Please...
Stop having so much "faith" in Science.
Science is based on skeptical thinking. Abandoning skeptical thought and having unbridled faith in Science, and allowing no criticism of Science-as-implemented, is precisely ridiculous. It's not a church. It does not need or demand your worship.
Do I need to list specific examples of Science being sub-optimal? Are you that ill-informed?
-The entire field of Dietary Health, ever-changing facts can't be right.
-Forensics - too much amateurish nonsense ruining lives
-The Publish or Perish situation
-The for-profit Journals and their cartel-like policies
-The general failure to publish negative findings
-Examples of poor understanding of Statistics 101
-Drug company funded research without appropriate ethics guidance
-University Press Offices being misleading
-And Fan-boy faith in all-things Science, no matter what
You do a disservice to society by being uncritical of Science-as-implemented. There is so much wrong that needs to be fixed. Unthinking fan-boys are a tiny part of the problem.
To be clear, religion is generally pure nonsense. Don't assume that I'm religious.
Sunday 25th March 2018 14:54 GMT Chronos
Re: Please Please Please...
The scientific method prescribes exactly the sort of thinking the OP proposes. There are issues with current science, not least of which is grant chasing which leads to making the empirical data fit the sponsor's requirements. It's not always money, either. Who hasn't had a little twinge of doubt about the doom and gloom over climate change being political?
Read Tom Sharpe's Grantchester Grind and tell me Lady Bloody Mary Godber-Evans or Edgar Hartang aren't metaphors, that Dr Osbert or The Bursar aren't typical caricatures of academia or indeed that organised science and organised religion are intimately entwined from birth with the likes of the Chaplain.
People really should read more satire. It encourages critical thinking in ways ordinary study never can.
Sunday 25th March 2018 12:34 GMT Asterix the Gaul
Francis(Pope) explained that both scientific theories('BIG BANG' - 'EVOLUTION') were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.
ERR!..NO, It does NOT 'require it' DUMMY!
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.
Oh NO! BUT, this(Below)is exactly ("he 'created' human beings)what you are saying((GOD was a magician with a 'magic' wand) .He added: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.
“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it..
^..,B$,B$ B$ ad infinitum.
“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings evolve.”
ANYTHING that ANY 'religion' or it's 'leaders' say is just plugging 'LIES','LIES' & NO 'Statistics', a complete vacuum of reasoning.