Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Stephen Hawking’s Wheelchair and Doctoral Thesis Sell in Multimillion Dollar Auction

Stephen Hawking’s Wheelchair and Doctoral Thesis Sell in Multimillion Dollar Auction

Medals and awards sold for £296,750, compared with an estimate of £15,000, while the red motorized wheelchair sold for £296,750, also compared with an estimate of £15,000.

Stephen Hawking fans raised nearly $2 million at an auction that will benefit The Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

A signed copy of his 117-page dissertation - one of only five - titled Properties of Expanding Universes from 1965 secured the top price of £584,750.

Hawking lived most of his life with motor neurone disease, before dying at the age of 76 in March.

In total, the auction, which included 52 lots, raised more than 1.8 million pounds (roughly $2.35 million, AU$3.24 million). Hawking has become one of the most famous theoretical physicists of our time.

"By the late 1980s he was at the height of his fame, and given 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-traveled wheelchair in history". Hawking's dissertation was the single most expensive item.

Perhaps more surprising, among some of Hawking's possessions was a script from an episode of "The Simpsons", which raised $8,160 (£6,250).

Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, 1988, first American edition, which was signed with a thumbprint.

The second-highest price of Hawking's collection was achieved by a selection of medals and awards presented throughout his career, which sold for £296,750 ($388,970).

Also on sale were personal copies of the British physicist's papers, such as a copy of his 1974 article, Black Hole Explosions?, in which he predicted that black holes would release blackbody radiation, known as Hawking Radiation. "A small plastic model of his yellow Simpsons incarnation had pride of place in his house".

Sophie Hopkins, specialist in manuscripts and archives at Christie's, said much of the collection was "incredibly iconic".

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