Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis for sale

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis for sale

More of Hawking's papers - including "Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse" and "Spectrum of Wormholes" - will be sold as well.

Perhaps the most sought-after artifact in the auction will be 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 to £150,000 ($130,000 to $195,000).

One is included in the sale, with an estimated price of $18,300 to $27,500. The copy of the thesis available for auction is signed by Hawking by hand.

Other items include copies of various scientific papers, a selection of medals, a bomber jacket he wore in a documentary, as well as a copy of his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, that's signed with Hawking's thumbprint.

The famous physicist was diagnosed at just 21 years old with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.

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

Hawking was diagnosed at age 22, just after starting his doctoral studies, and doctors initially said he would only live a few more years.

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Hawking's 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".

Hawking relied upon a series of wheelchairs from the end of the 1960s until his death in March this year, according to the Christie's auction house in the UK.

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". Money raised from the sale of the wheelchair will benefit the Motor Neurone Disease Association and The Stephen Hawking Foundation.

"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". The online sale "On the Shoulders of Giants" also features papers from Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

The British physicist Stephen Hawking passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 76. Since he was paralysed, Hawking's movement was facilitated by high-tech wheelchairs.

Christie's "On the Shoulders of Giants: Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking" opens for bidding on Halloween, and concludes on November 8. A Brief History of Time would go on to sell more than 10 million copies, and each one came with Sagan's full endorsement: he authored the book's introduction.

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