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Stephen Hawking may get a permanent memorial in Cambridge

Moves are afoot to erect a permanent public monument to Prof Stephen Hawking in Cambridge – and city..

By admin , in Cambridge , at April 20, 2018

Moves are afoot to erect a permanent public monument to Prof Stephen Hawking in Cambridge – and city residents will be part of the decision on how best to remember him.

Yesterday (April 19), Cambridge City Council unanimously supported a motion to bring a permanent public memorial to Prof Hawking, who died last month at the age of 75.

Councillors referred to the physicist as a 'colossus' of science

Prof Hawking's footprint on the city and science stretches far beyond Cambridge University. Millions across the world were inspired by the insights he offered into complex scientific problems, and his triumph over Motor Neurone Disease, which he was diagnosed with at 21.

Its a well-known story that back then, doctors only gave the professor two more years to live, he went on to live a further 55 after his diagnosis.

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Hawking "embodies and personified the ability of a human mind"

Councillors remembered the colossus of astrophysics, with a strong sense of civic pride and duty towards Cambridge, the city he spent most of his life in.

Cllr Peter Sarris said: “In his life he embodied and personified the ability of the human mind and spirit to transcend the most daunting of circumstances. I think it is only right for, not just the university, but this city to establish a permanent monument in his honour.”

A graffiti tribute near Mill Road bridge has already been painted over (Image: David Johnson/Trinity Mirror)

Proposed ideas include naming a new railway station at Addenbrookes hospital after the professor, constructing a black hole sculpture at the Guildhall, and permanently mounting a public telescope next to a city path so anyone walking past can stop and look up at the stars.

Other ideas have included less concrete tributes like an annual arts or science festival to get children and young people involved in science.

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Cllr Peter Roberts, who proposed the motion, said: “He was an outstanding scientist and a great ambassador for this city. One of the ideas I have heard something about is the idea of putting a telescope on a path so that anyone going past can stop and look up at the stars, like the famous quote.”

“We need to be careful about not getting ahead of ourselves. Youll notice Im being opaque in my language. The tribute could be a renamed station, or an art festival, or anything. I would like to see something that children can get involved in.”

Cllr Lewis Herbert agreed the council should take some of the ideas under discussion, but should also be advised by Prof Hawkings colleagues at Gonville & Caius college, where Hawking was a fellow, and his family.

Mourners signing a book of condolence at Gonville & Caius

Cllr Rod Cantrill also paid tribute to the 'colossal' impact Prof Hawking had on the city, and fondly remembered the professors civic spirit in turning out to help with community campaigns.

Cllr Oscar Gillespie also paid tribute, outlining Prof Hawkings brilliance and humility.

A process to work out which tribute would be the most appropriate will now begin, and residents in Cambridge will be included in the decision.

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Cllr Anna Smith added: “I think its a really wonderful idea we do something to celebrate his life. I think it is right our approach to this should be collaborative. We want to see public engagement.

"We want to get this right. We want to discuss this and plan this so it is something the whole community can be proud of.”

The council unanimously approved the motion.

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David Bartlett, editor-in-chief of Cambridge News, said: "I'm delighted Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the idea of a permanent memorial to Prof Hawking".

"I committed the support and involvement of the Cambridge News ahead of the vote because I believe the professor's huge impact on the world should be recognised".

David Bartlett

"I also believe it is an opportunity to do something truly special that can become a world-class artwork.”

"We will work with the council to help ensure the public are fully consulted and has the widest possible support."

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