Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Stephen Hawking's Wheelchair and Doctoral Thesis Sell in Million Pound Auction

Stephen Hawking's Wheelchair and Doctoral Thesis Sell in Million Pound Auction

Hawking has been strapped in a wheelchair for most of his life because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.

It was sold for almost twenty times what it was expected to snatch at auction, and its sale will benefit both the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

English physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March this year, shortly before his death had predicted that in the future there will be a race of supermen, who will be a threat to humanity.

Auctioneer Christie's had 20 other items associated with the late physicist up for grabs, including a script from one of his appearances on The Simpsons, which went for £6,250.

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.


His first wife Jane typed out the 117 pages but he added two hand-written signatures and the words "This dissertation is my original work" at the front, as well as several mathematical equations inside.

Hawking's items were sold by Christie's, a British auction house, as part of "On the Shoulders of Giants". Hawking has made cameos in the long-running show throughout its 30-year run.

These included the Eddington Medal awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society in 1975; the Albert Einstein Award for achievement in the natural sciences, awarded in 1978; and a Gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society awarded in 1985.

And quirky items included an invitation to a party he held in 2009 where nobody turned up - because the invites were only for time travellers and the event was publicised after it happened.

According to The Guardian, Hawking's children plan to donate the rest of their father's estate to the nation as part of the "acceptance in lieu" scheme, which allows one to transfer objects of artistic or historical value into public ownership to pay down inheritance tax.

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