Stephen Hawking will be given Honorary Freedom of the City of London today

 
Emma Haslett
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Physicist Stephen Hawking Lectures At UC Berkeley
Honorary Freedom of the City of London is the City's highest award (Source: Getty)

Professor Stephen Hawking will be awarded the City's highest honour today, after he is given Honorary Freedom of the City of London.

Hawking, whose research into black holes has transformed our understanding of the universe, will be presented with the award by the City of London Corporation at a ceremony at the Guildhall today.

Dr Peter Kane, chamberlain of London, will present him with an illuminated Freedom scroll, which comes in an inscribed casket, after which Hawking will deliver a keynote speech to an audience which includes Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley, the City's Aldermen and the Court of Common Council.

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Back when the honour was announced in February, Hawking said he was looking forward to "learning more about the unique traditions behind the granting of this honour".

Parmley 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.”

Honorary Freedom of the City of London is not a common award - its two most recent recipients are Archbishop Desmond Tutu and world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

To bestow the honour, the City of London Corporation must pass a special resolution at the Court of Common Council.

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