Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers

Time travellers may be present at the memorial service for Stephen Hawking, and the charity set up in his name has stated it cannot rule out the possibility.

A ballot set up to allow members of the public to attend the event appears to allow anyone born within the next two decades to apply, even though it is set to take place in June.

The service will see Hawking interred at Westminster Abbey between the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Anyone wishing to go and pay their respects to the world-renowned theoretical physicist can apply via the public ballot.

The ballot closes on Tuesday 15 May at midnight, and there are up to 1,000 places available.

Travel blogger IanVisits noted the application form allows people born from 2019 to 2038 to apply, theoretically allowing “people born in the future to attend the service”.

“Look out for time travellers at the Abbey,” he wrote.

Within 24 hours of opening, the ballot had already received around 12,000 applications from over 50 countries including everywhere from the US to the tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu.

However, there have been no reports of potential attendees from the future yet.

Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Eddie Redmayne speaks to Lily Cole following the funeral.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
The coffin of British physicist, Stephen Hawking, is carried from Great St Mary's Church following the funeral service.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
The hearse containing Professor Stephen Hawking leaves University Church of St Mary.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Comedian Dara O'Briain arrives at Great St Marys Church.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
University of Cambridge college porters arrive at Great St Marys Church.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Lily Cole arrives for the funeral service of Professor Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Brian May and Anita Dobson arrive.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Professor Stephen Hawking's daughter Lucy attends his funeral.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Members of the church choir arrive.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Charlotte Hawkins arrives.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Reverend Dr Cally Hammond, Dean of Cambridge University's Gonville and Caius College, where the late Stephen Hawking was a fellow for 52 years, arrives at the university church. She will be officiating at his funeral service.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Felicity Jones and her partner Charles Guard arrive.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
A floral tribute left for Stephen Hawking outside Great St Marys Church.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Actor Eddie Redmayne, who played the role of the late Professor Stephen Hawking in the 2014 biographical drama 'The Theory of Everything', attends his funeral.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Jane Hawking and her son Timothy arrive.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
The funeral cortege arrives at Great St Marys Church.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
Members of the public and media photograph the funeral cortege as it arrives.
Stephen Hawking memorial service appears to be catering for time travellers
The coffin of Professor Stephen Hawking is carried into the University Church of St Mary.

"We cannot exclude the possibility of time travel as it has not been disproven to our satisfaction,” a spokesman for the Stephen Hawking Foundation told the BBC.

"All things are possible until proven otherwise.

"But so far we have had applications from all round the world, and we do mean round – there are no flat-Earthers here."

The Foundation has since warned potential time travellers “if you are travelling to the service from a different time, you will need to bring proof of where and when you were born”.

Hawking, who died in March at the age of 76, had previously floated the idea that time travel might be possible.

The physicist was considered one of the most influential scientists of his generation,making his name with theories on black holes and relativity. In March, thousands lined the streets in Cambridge for his funeral.

His final work, submitted before his death, was published in the Journal of High Energy Physics in collaboration with Belgian physicist Dr Thomas Hertog. It concluded the universe is more finite and simpler than previously imagined.

The news about Hawking’s memorial service chimes with an experiment he performed in 2009, when he held a “time travellers' party” in an attempt to demonstrate the feasibility of time travel.

He prepared an invitation that read: "You are cordially invited to a reception for time travellers, hosted by Professor Stephen Hawking”.

The invitation listed not only the address as Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but also the exact coordinates in time and space.

“I’m hoping copies of it, in one form or another, will survive for many thousands of years,” said Professor Hawking in a Discovery Channel documentary he made that documented the event.

“Maybe one day someone living in the future will find the information and use a wormhole time machine to come back to my party, proving that time travel will one day be possible.”

To ensure only time-travelling guests would show up, the celebrated physicist did not send out invitations until after the date had passed.

However, Professor Hawking was disappointed as no time travellers did, in fact, attend.

“What a shame,” he said. “I was hoping a future Ms Universe was going to step through the door.”

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