Lottery for Stephen Hawking Service Has One Odd Detail

Time travelers are welcome to apply
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2018 3:35 AM CDT
Time Travelers Welcome at Stephen Hawking Service
In this March 6, 2017, photo, Stephen Hawking delivers a keynote speech as he receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony at the Guildhall.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

No time travelers showed up at the party Stephen Hawking held for them in 2009, but they'll still be welcome when he's laid to rest. In what was apparently a form of invitation, not an error, people entering the lottery to attend the late professor's memorial service at Westminster Abbey next month need to enter their birthdate on a form that allows dates as far in the future as Dec. 31, 2038, the BBC reports. There have been no applicants from the future so far, but "we cannot exclude the possibility of time travel as it has not been disproven to our satisfaction," a Stephen Hawking Foundation spokesman says. "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 spokesman says. The lottery for around 1,000 tickets to the service ends at midnight Tuesday, and the application form is here. In a 1992 essay, Hawking suggested that time travel might be possible, but only into the future, the Telegraph notes. That didn't stop him holding his party for time travelers on June 28, 2009. He provided champagne and hors d'oeuvres—but didn't issue invitations until after the event. He said the fact that nobody showed up was "experimental evidence that time travel is not possible." (Hawking submitted a final paper days before his death.)

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