Stephen Hawking's original PHD thesis tops $750000 at Christie's

Cesar Mills
November 11, 2018

Personal effects owned by famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, including his wheelchair and doctoral thesis, have sold for a combined total of over a million pounds (about $1,306,275, AU$1,801,515) at auction. It had been expected to fetch up to 15,000 pounds.

The money from the wheelchair will benefit two charities "The Stephen Hawking Foundation" which he founded in 2015 and The Motor Neurone Disease Association.

A red leather wheelchair that Hawking used from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, driving himself using a joystick, sold for £296,750 while an early edition of his bestselling book "A Brief History of Time" marked with a thumbprint, fetched £68,750.

A bidder also spent more than US$760,000 - more than double the expectation - on Prof Hawking's signed 1965 PhD thesis, Properties of Expanding Universes, about the origins of time and space. Hawking's dissertation was the single most expensive item.

The most expensive item in Hawking's collection was a copy of his Ph.D. dissertation on the expansion of the universe.

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Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, Hawking instead died in March at 76.

There was also a collection of his medals and awards available to prospective buyers, and they went for £296,750.

Perhaps more surprising, among some of Hawking's possessions was a script from an episode of "The Simpsons", which raised $8,160 (£6,250). It included items belonging to Hawking, as well as others linked to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

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.

According to the Guardian, the esteemed physicist's daughter Lucy Hawking said the auction was an opportunity for his admirers to "acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items".

Other reports by GizPress

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