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Prof Stephen Hawking has likened the Canary Islands to California and says it is “a wonderful place for science and research”.

World-renowned scientist Prof Stephen Hawking has likened the Canary Islands to California and says it is “a wonderful place for science and research”.

BRITISH astrophysics expert Stephen Hawking will visit Tenerife on Sunday, September 20 for the presentation of the third edition of the ‘Starmus’ festival, due to be held next year from June 27 to July 2.

The festival will be a tribute to the scientist, titled Beyond the horizon: A homage to Stephen Hawking, and will involve 12 Nobel Prize winners among its speakers – physics expert Peter Higgs and economics award winner François Englert have just confirmed their attendance.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins will also be there for a second time running, and head of Astrophysics at Oxford University, Professor Steven Balbus, who earned the Shaw Prize in Astronomy in 2013.

Physics professor from the University of Manchester, Brian E Cox, known for his TV programmes, is also due to speak at the event.

Other Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics, chemistry and medicine are Harold Kroto and Eric Betzig, who won the chemistry prize in 1996 and 2014 respectively; biologists Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn, joint winners of the medicine category in 2009; Robert Wilson and David Gross, who won the physics category in 1978 and 2004; Adam Reiss and Brian Schmidt, who shared the Nobel Physics Prize in 2011, and husband-and-wife team Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser, winners of the Nobel Physiology and Nobel Medicine Prizes in 2014.

Famous astronomers, astrophysicists and other scientists known internationally include Neil Turok, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kip Thorne, Martin Rees, Robert Williams and Jill Tarter.

Astronauts who have travelled in space include Michael López-Alegría, Garrett Reisman, Chris Hadfield, Sergey Volkov and Russell Schweickart.

Festival founder, astrophysicist Garik Israelian, says the second edition ‘will be a hard act to follow’, but believes the third one in 2016 will be one of the best ever due to the presence of so many globally-renowned experts.

Stephen Hawking, author of A brief history of time, says it will be ‘a pleasure’ to be in the Canary Islands again and to ‘form part of the history of Starmus’, a festival which has become ‘a key event’ in international scientific discovery.

“I feel very honoured to receive this tribute in the third edition and am sure that, once again, the festival will vastly exceed all our expectations,” Hawking said.