Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Stephen Hawking's thesis and wheelchair sell for US$1 million

Stephen Hawking's thesis and wheelchair sell for US$1 million

Twenty-two items, including the medals awarded for his theses and research achievements were put up for online auction late last month.

Late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking threw a cocktail party in 2009 - but the invitations weren't sent out until 2013.

A wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for nearly $400,000, with the money going to charity. The chair was initially expected to sell for roughly between $13,000 and $20,000.

When Cambridge University made the 1965 work, Properties Of Expanding Universes, available online previous year, demand was so great that it crashed the website.

The sale was part of a nine-day online auction by Christie's called "On the Shoulders of Giants" to raise money for the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

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However, the most expensive item that sold earlier this week was a copy of Hawking's PhD thesis, titled, "Properties of expanding universes".

The 1965 thesis, which is one of five known copies, sold for almost $800,000.

Thomas Venning, head of the books and manuscripts department at Christie's London, said: "The sale concludes with Professor Hawking's wheelchair, in which he both toured the world as a successful scientific communicator, and from which his mind voyaged to the outer reaches of space-time, making it literally and figuratively one of the most-travelled wheelchairs in history".

This motorised wheelchair used by British physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March at the age of 76, was sold at auction for £296,750 (S$532,100).

Hawking's belongings, however, weren't the only ones included in the 52-item strong lot. It included items belonging to Hawking, as well as others linked to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. Christie's is handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.

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