When renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76 in March, public figures ranging from Barack Obama to Katy Perry paid their respects on social media and explained how much of an impact he made on their lives.
On Saturday, thousands of mourners filled the streets of Cambridge, England for Hawking's funeral at Great St. Mary’s Church. Among those in attendance were Elon Musk and actor Eddie Redmayne, the latter of whom played Hawking in the 2014 film, The Theory of Everything.
When news of Hawking's passing was first announced on March 13, Redmayne publicly stated, "We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family." At the funeral service, Redmayne read from Ecclesiastes 3.1-11, which includes the passage, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die."
Eulogies were delivered by his son Robert Hawking, as well as former student Prof Dowker, who said, "He inspired people with the excitement and importance of pure scientific inquiry and was admired and revered for his devotion, as a scholar, to the pursuit of knowledge." According to the BBC, Dowker continued, "This high regard was demonstrated wherever in the world he gave a public lecture: the auditorium was always packed, the atmosphere electric and the applause thunderous."
Hawking's casket was adorned with two bouquets of flowers: White lilies to symbolize the universe, and white roses to represent the polar star. The bells at Great St. Mary’s Church rang out 76 times—one for each year of Hawking’s life.