Published: Thu, October 25, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis set to be auctioned

Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis set to be auctioned

"...[G] iven his extensive travels to conferences and public events, as well as the scope of his intellectual explorations of space-time, this is arguably both literally and metaphorically the most-travelled wheelchair in history", notes the auction house, humorously observing that Hawking "was even renowned for being a rather wild driver".

The items - part of a science sale that includes papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein - will be on display in London for several days from October 30.

Only five copies of the Ph.D. thesis exist - although a digital copy was made available online for free by Cambridge University Library's Open Access Week past year.

The online sale announced on Monday by auctioneer Christie's features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, some of his many awards, and scientific papers such as Spectrum of Wormholes and Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse.

The bomber jacket Stephen Hawking wore on a documentary has a starting bid of £100.

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.

Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, said Hawking was so despondent over the diagnosis that he "gave up his studies for a time". The scientist lived decades beyond the prognosis, and he died in March at age 76.

The disease left Hawking paralyzed and using a wheelchair for mobility. According to Christie's, the item is the earliest surviving example of a wheelchair used by Hawking, who used it until he was unable to use his hands.

The real statement piece, however, is Hawking's wheelchair-sold to benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Venning told the AP that Hawking's wheelchair symbolizes the scientist's "puckish sense of humor". He once ran over Prince Charles' toes - and reportedly joked that he wished he had done the same to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - and appeared in a "Monty Python" skit running down fellow physicist Brian Cox.

Frank Augstein/APA bomber jacket given to Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking's prized possessions will go up for auction, including some of his most important papers, including his doctoral thesis, a copy of "A Brief History of Time" and the script for one of his appearances on "The Simpsons". His landmark book a "A Brief History of Time", sold more than 10 million copies.

Also on the block is a thumbprint-autographed original copy of the 1988 book that passed from Carl Sagan to Hawking the unofficial title of the world's leading cosmic explainer.

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