14 Mar 2018 Stephen Hawking hailed 'beacon of inspiration', as London Science Museum pays tribute By Tom Anstey
Hawking, pictured in 2013 with Peter Higgs at the Science Museum's Collider exhibition Photo: Science Museum Group
London’s Science Museum has paid tribute to Stephen Hawking, calling the famous scientist a “beacon of inspiration” following his death.
Hawking, who died at the age of 76 at his home in Cambridge after a long battle with motor neurone disease, was a big supporter of the museum, calling the London attraction one of his favourite places to visit.
“He was generous to a fault in supporting our work and in allowing us to join him in seeking to inspire the next generation to look up at the stars,” said Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group.
“Stephen was once kind enough to describe the Science Museum, where he was a Fellow, as one of his favourite places and the feeling was absolutely mutual.”
Hawking had visited the Science Museum since childhood, being taken to the museum as a young boy, fuelling his fascination for the subject.
In 2012, the museum celebrated Hawking’s 70th birthday, which it marked with an exhibition and portrait by British artist David Hockney. In 2013, he visited the museum for the opening of the museum’s Collider exhibition, meeting Peter Higgs, discoverer of the Higgs boson “God” particle. Hawking visited again in 2015, sharing some of his thoughts about the importance of human space exploration.
“Hawking will be mourned now not just for his science but for his cosmic force of will that saw him defy a devastating diagnosis for more than half a century,” said Roger Highfield, director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group.
“He will be mourned for his remarkable impact, not just on the field of cosmology but as a hugely successful science writer and a beacon of inspiration for how the limitations of the body can be overcome by the power of the mind.”