March 20, 2019

Stephen Hawking wheelchair, thesis up for sale

24 October 2018, 02:13 | Dale Webster

Stephen Hawking communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs

Stephen Hawking communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs

A total of 22 personal possessions of the beloved physicist, the late Stephen Hawking, will be auctioned at Christie's by the end of October.

Christie's, a global auctioneer headquartered in London, is selling several of Hawking's papers, including his dissertation, thesis on the origins of the universe and his spectrum of wormholes.

Among the items is an original copy of Hawking's Ph.D. thesis from the University of Cambridge, entitled "Properties of Expanding Universes", which is expected to sell for between $126,000 and $189,000.

The sale includes a script from one of Professor Hawking's Simpsons appearances, a copy of his best-seller A Brief History of Time signed with a thumbprint and a personalized bomber jacket that he wore in a documentary. Hawking will take his place among Britain's greatest scientists when his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey, Friday June 15, 2018, between the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, during a service of thanksgiving for the physicist who died in March 2018. Hawking used a wheelchair during his time at Cambridge and for most of his life, after he was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The online auction will start on October 31 and run through November 8.

Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, said the papers "trace the development of his thought - this brilliant, electrifying intelligence".

Hawking was made completely paralysed by a form of motor neurone disease and his death earlier this year was met with masses of tributes from colleagues, celebrities and the public.

The scientist was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 22 and was eventually strapped into his wheelchair, unable to walk again.

The disease left Hawking paralyzed and using a wheelchair for mobility.

Having run over Prince Charles's toes during a meeting in 1977, he is said to have regretted not doing the same to the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The copy of the thesis available for auction is signed by Hawking by hand. Proceeds from the wheelchair will be donated to charities.

Frank Augstein/APA bomber jacket given to Stephen Hawking.

His daughter Lucy said the sale gave "admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items".

"It was in 1983 that Hawking first suggested the idea of a popular work on cosmology, which would explain modern physics and astronomy in non-specialist terms to a popular readership", Christie's states.

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