Stephen Hawking's motorized wheelchair is up for auction

Cesar Mills
October 24, 2018

The motorized wheelchair that carried Hawking out of the 1980s and into his most high-profile period also is on the auction block, with Christie's reportedly expecting it to fetch between $13,000 and $20,000.

London-based auction house Christie's has announced an online sale of 22 items from the late British physicist Stephen Hawking including one of his wheelchairs and complex scientific papers.

Among the items is an original copy of Hawking's Ph.D. thesis from the University of Cambridge, entitled "Properties of Expanding Universes", which is expected to sell for between $126,000 and $189,000.

"You can see each advance as he produced it and introduced it to the scientific community", Mr Venning said.

Of course, Hawking's fame rests only partly on his scientific status as the cosmologist who put black holes on the map.

Days after legendary physicist Stephen Hawking's final paper was published, a great number of his 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". Hawking used a wheelchair during his time at Cambridge and for most of his life, after he was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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The auction house said the thesis is signed in Prof Hawking's distinctively shaky handwriting, with the statement: "This dissertation is my original work".

The disease eventually left Professor Hawking nearly completely paralysed. He communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs. Christie's estimates that the item will sell from between $12,600 and $18,900.

Having run over Prince Charles's toes during a meeting in 1977, he is said to have regretted not doing the same to the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Money raised from the sale of the wheelchair will be offered to benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, according to Christie's.

He appeared several times on animated comedy show The Simpsons and kept a figurine of himself from the show in his office.

Prof Hawking's daughter Lucy said the auction would give people the chance to "acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life". As a part of a science sale including papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, the Hawking auction will open for bids on October 31.

All pieces will be on display in London, and officially for sale October 31 through November 8.

Other reports by GizPress

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