Science

Stephen Hawking's 'first powerchair' to be auctioned off for around £15k

Stephen Hawking's 'first powerchair' to be auctioned off for around £15k

A selection of personal items of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March at 76, will be featured in a Christie's online auction from October 31 to November 8.

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.

Also being auctioned off is the wheelchair Hawking used from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, before he lost the ability to use his hands.

Aside from some of Hawking's possessions being offered, possessions from other famous scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein will be included in the auction.

Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which is usually fatal within a few years.

Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration and a global celebrity. Hawking's notes and equations are visible in some of the pieces, including a line from his October 1965 Cambridge University doctorate thesis stating "This dissertation is my original work", followed by a "S.W. Hawking" signature.




Christie's auction house is selling a variety of items owned by the late physicist Stephen Hawking, including one of his motorized wheelchairs.

Thomas Venning, the head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, told the AP that the doctoral thesis reflects both Hawking's scientific achievements and his personal history. The doctors were off by several decades; the scientist lived to age 76.

"Stephen Hawking's rather mischievous attitude to piloting his wheelchair became legendary", according to the lot description."Having run over Prince Charles' toes during a meeting in 1977, he is said to have regretted not doing the same to the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher".

The disease left Hawking paralyzed and using a wheelchair for mobility. Christie's estimates that the item will sell from between $12,600 and $18,900. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which facilitates scientific researches, and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The copy comes with a bomber jacket that Hawking once wore.

In addition to publishing numerous scientific papers, Hawking wrote books, and his popular "A Brief History of Time" will be at the auction. "We are also giving admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items".