Stephen Hawking delivered a eulogy for George Mitchell via video tape on August 8th at Mitchell's memorial tribute in The Woodlands. The following is a transcript of the eulogy.
"George P. Mitchell was a remarkable individual who combined vision with wisdom and persistence. Through sheer hard work and dedication, he leaves behind an extraordinary legacy. It can be said of very few people that they changed the world -- but George Mitchell is among those few.
I first met George in 2002 when Chris Pope flew him to see me in Pasadena to persuade him to support physics at Texas A&M University, not that he needed much persuading.
George had been a strong backer of the Superconducting Super Collider, which would have been more powerful and earlier than the LHC but was cancelled half-built.
After our meeting, George got things moving and when I visited Texas A&M the following year, there was already the George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Fundamental Physics which has since moved to splendid new premises. Through George's support, Texas A&M has become a leading university for research into physics and cosmology.
I am proud to remember him as a friend. I had several happy visits to his beautiful nature reserve in Texas where George did me and my colleagues the honor of allowing us to hold a physics conference.
While none of us can match George's ingenuity in geophysical discovery, I am happy to say that I still managed to beat him in wheelchair racing, even if it was only by a narrow margin.
Loved, admired and respected, through his work in energy production, his humanitarian generosity, his academic curiosity and passion for inspiration. And his wonderful, warm family, George P. Mitchell will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him."