Scientist to help Paralympics open with Big Bang

Professor Stephen Hawking Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP

Cambridge scientist Stephen Hawking is to play a leading role in the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics.

The physicist is due to appear at the event in the Olympic Stadium in East London later tonight.

Professor Hawking, who has been living with Motor Neurone disease since the early 1960s, will take the role of a guide through what has been described as an "exquisite journey of discovery".

Co-artistic director Bradley Hemmings said: "Our talks with Stephen Hawking began towards the end of last year.

We worked very closely with Professor Hawking to develop a series of messages which are very much integrated into the storytelling of the ceremony. We have spent time with him in Cambridge and have been so incredibly gratified with him giving his time

Professor Hawking is currently Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in Cambridge.