Hawking's PhD thesis, wheelchair put up for auction

Up for auction is the motorised wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking.
Up for auction is the motorised wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • From a copy of his PhD thesis to his wheelchair, several items belonging to the late British physicist Stephen Hawking are up for auction.

Known for his acclaimed research on black holes, Professor Hawking, who suffered from motor neurone disease and used an electronic voice synthesiser, died in March at the age of 76.

The auction titled "On the Shoulders of Giants", which also features documents penned by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, will feature 22 lots from Prof Hawking's estate, including one of five known copies of his PhD thesis, "Properties of expanding universes", estimated at £100,000 (S$175,000) to £150,000.

"Stephen Hawking was a huge personality worldwide. He had this amazing ability to connect with people," Mr Thomas Venning, head of the books and manuscripts department at auction house Christie's London, told Reuters.

"The whole idea... was to provide something that was accessible to his admirers so that people could connect with him and remember his extraordinary story."

Also up for sale are a copy of Prof Hawking's best-selling book, A Brief History Of Time, signed with his thumbprint - estimated at between £2,000 and £3,000 - as well as awards and medals given to the scientist, priced at £10,000 to £15,000.

Other documents, an invitation to a reception for "Time Travellers" as well as a motorised wheelchair Prof Hawking used, are also being sold in the Oct 31 to Nov 8 online auction.

The auction items have already attracted interest from Asia, the Middle East, the United States and Australia, according to Mr Venning.

"(Hawking) travelled across the world and he has fans in the US, he has fans in Asia," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline 'Hawking's PhD thesis, wheelchair put up for auction'. Print Edition | Subscribe