Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair and thesis among physicist's possessions up for sale

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair and thesis among physicist's possessions up for sale

Christie's announced on Monday that starting October 31, they'll be holding an online auction, titled, "On the Shoulders of Giants", featuring 22 items from the late world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking.

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.

The auction includes one of five existing copies of Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, Properties of Expanding Universes, which carries an estimated price of 100,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds.

A motorized BEC Mobility wheelchair, now on sale on the Christie's website, was one of the many Hawking used during his life.

Professor Stephen Hawking's earliest surviving powerchair is set to be auctioned off next month for an estimated price of between £10,000 and £15,000. The copy of the thesis available for auction is signed by Hawking by hand.

Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which is usually fatal within a few years.

A poster advertising Time Travellers meeting hosted by Stephen Hawking is one of the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at the auction house Christies in London Friday Oct. 19 2018. The online auction announced Monday Oct. 22 2018
Auction house to sell Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis and his script from 'The Simpsons'

Daughter Lucy Hawking has noted that, through the auction, fans of the scientist will get the chance to become owners of the relics, reminding about the odd life of a theoretical physicist.

Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, said it serves as a key document in Hawking's scientific evolution and also gives insight into his personal story. So, for much of his life, Hawking used a wheelchair to move and a speech-generating device to talk.

The thesis "was the fruit of him reapplying himself to his scientific work", Mr Venning said, and Professor Hawking "kept it beside him for the rest of his life". Proceeds from his wheelchair's sale will be donated to The Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (motor neurone disease is the term used for ALS in the United Kingdom).

She added: "We hope to be able to offer our father's archive to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu process as we feel it is a huge part of his legacy but also of the history of science in this country". (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) A Book, written and corrected with handwritten annotation by Stephen Hawking is one of the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking, photo behind, on display at the auction house Christies in London, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

However, he defied all odds, going on to become a towering figure in the world of physics, a bestselling author - particularly with his book A Brief History Of Time - and a father of three and TV celebrity. Hawking, however, went on to live till 76 and passed away in March this year.

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