London (AFP) – Exceptional students in mathematics and physics can compete for research fellowships in honour of the late British physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March, the government announced on Monday.
Up to 10 fellowships will be awarded each year for the next five years to candidates completing doctoral studies in maths, physics and computer sciences, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The 50 recipients will receive financial support allowing them to continue their work in any British institution for up to three years, it said.
The creation of the “Stephen Hawking Fellowships” follow discussions with his family, said Science Minister Sam Gyimah.
“I can think of no more fitting tribute to this great man than to support the next generation to push the boundaries of knowledge of the laws that govern our universe,” he added.
Hawking’s children Robert, Lucy and Tim Hawking, said they were “thrilled” by the move and that their father “knew the value that fellowships could provide to advancing research”.
“As a scientist who made extraordinary discoveries throughout his career but particularly in his early years, he was very interested in the development of new talent and devoted much of his career to his teaching roles,” they said.
“We are thrilled that these fellowships will be named after him and see this as a great tribute to his life in science.”
British physicist Hawking died at his Cambridge home on March 14 at the age of 76.
His ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey between the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin on Friday.