PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking was the most inspirational of figures, and the honour granted him of having his ashes interred in Westminster Abbey alongside other titans of science including Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin is no less than he deserved.
His was a lifetime devoted to the advancement of knowledge in the broadest and noblest of senses.
Not only did he push the boundaries of his own discipline, unlocking many of the complex secrets of the universe, but he made them accessible to a much wider audience.
In doing, so Prof Hawking fostered a thirst for discovery in the generations that follow him, who will surely and rightly view him as no less of a pioneer than the likes of Newton and Darwin.
Yesterday’s memorial service paid fitting tribute to him, not least because the congregation included a group of young people who communicate via electronic devices, as he did.
The example Prof Hawking set was not only in his scientific work, but on a personal level that won him the admiration of many.
His fortitude and determination not to be held back by the motor neurone disease that made his life so difficult has proved inspirational to others as they cope with serious and chronic conditions that affect their quality of life in numerous different ways.
There can be little that he will continue to provide inspiration on many levels long into the future.
And he would surely have appreciated that his words, set to a specially-composed piece of music, were beamed towards the stars, where for a lifetime his thoughts, intellect and curiosity lay.