Stephen Hawking receives Honorary Freedom of the City of London
Stephen Hawking has been awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of London, the highest honour the City can bestow, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to theoretical physics and cosmology.
In a ceremony at the Guildhall on March 6th, Professor Hawking was presented with an illuminated Freedom scroll by Dr Peter Kane, Chamberlain of London, who paid tribute to the scientist's achievements.
Professor Hawking delivered a keynote speech to guests, before answering questions submitted by students from the City's schools and academies.
Professor Hawking said: "I am very pleased to have been granted the Honorary Freedom of the City of London and I would like to thank Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley and the City of London Corporation for this special award. I am looking forward to the ceremony in March, and to learning more about the unique traditions behind the granting of this honour."
The Lord Mayor added: "There are few people on the world stage, and not just in the field of science, who are as respected, revered and admired as Professor Stephen Hawking.
"He has educated and informed generations of people around the world, while continuing to push forward the boundaries of academia. He has achieved all this with courage, determination and humour, while facing the huge challenges of living with motor neurone disease.
"Over the course of a 50-year academic career, Professor Hawking's achievements have been truly remarkable and it will be an absolute privilege to meet him at Guildhall and witness the award of his Honorary Freedom."
In receiving the City's highest honour, Professor Hawking joins an esteemed list of people including Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Tim Berners-Lee and Desmond Tutu.