Stephen Hawking PhD thesis and wheelchair to sell in online auction

Lots include A Brief History of Time signed with thumbprint and Simpsons script

Personal items belonging to Stephen Hawking, including his medals and one of his wheelchairs, are to be sold at an online auction.

The British physicist, best known for his research on black holes, died in March, aged 76.

The auction, hosted by Christie’s, is called On the Shoulders of Giants and features 22 items belonging to Hawking as well as manuscripts by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Also on sale will be personal copies of Hawking’s most important papers, such as his seminal 1974’s Black Hole Explosions?; a copy of his bestselling A Brief History of Time, signed with a thumbprint; a bomber jacket; and the script for one of his appearances on The Simpsons.

Proceeds from the sale of the wheelchair will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Hawking, who used a wheelchair for much of his life and an electronic voice synthesiser, had motor neurone disease.

One of Stephen Hawking’s wheelchairs up for sale in an online auction hosted by Christie’s.
One of Stephen Hawking’s wheelchairs up for sale in an online auction hosted by Christie’s. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images

The jacket is estimated to fetch £100, while one of five known copies of Hawking’s PhD thesis is expected to reach up to £150,000.

Lucy Hawking, his daughter, said: “We are very pleased to have the assistance of Christie’s to help us with the important matter of managing our beloved father’s archives and his unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings, chronicling his life and work.”

She said she hoped to donate the rest of her father’s scientific archive and estate to the nation through the acceptance in lieu scheme, where articles of national, historic, artistic and scientific interest can be transferred into public ownership to settle inheritance tax bills.

Thomas Venning, the head of the books and manuscripts department at Christie’s in London, said: “It has been a huge privilege for Christie’s to work on this selection of objects from the estate of one of the most brilliant minds of the last half-century. The lots selected for sale highlight Prof Hawking’s remarkable achievements in science alongside his unique personality and inspirational life story.”


Aamna Mohdin

The GuardianTramp

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