Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Stephen Hawking wheelchair, thesis up for sale - Newswatch

Stephen Hawking communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs Stephen Hawking communicated through a voice-generating computer and moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs
Sandra Phillips | 24 October, 2018, 14:12

Personal belongings of Stephen Hawking, including his wheelchair, put up for auction.

A total of 22 personal possessions of the beloved physicist, the late Stephen Hawking, will be auctioned at Christie's by the end of October.

Only five copies of the Ph.D. thesis exist - although a digital copy was made available online for free by Cambridge University Library's Open Access Week past year.

"It has been a huge privilege for Christie's to work on this selection of objects from the estate of one of the most brilliant minds of the last half-century", Thomas Venning, head of Christies' books and manuscripts department, said in a press release announcing the auction.

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

The famous theoretical physicist and science popularizer Stephen Hawking died 14 March 2018 at the age of 76 years.

Hawking's affliction is a disease which causes the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles. Meanwhile, Hawking's wheelchairs have become a symbol for his disability. In his case, the disease's progress was a slow one that didn't kill him in two years after being diagnosed, as doctors claimed, but made him dependant on wheelchairs and voice synthesizers for most of his life.

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Medals, awards, scientific papers and the script for one of Prof Hawking's appearances on The Simpsons will also be going under the hammer as part of the sale, entitled On the Shoulders of Giants. Proceeds from his wheelchair's sale will be donated to The Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (motor neurone disease is the term used for ALS in the United Kingdom). Christie's estimates that the item will sell from between $12,600 and $18,900.

"He once ran over Prince Charles" toes - and reportedly joked that he wished he had done the same to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - and appeared in a Monty Python skit running down fellow physicist Brian Cox.

A copy of a thesis by Professor Stephen Hawking is expected to sell for as much as £150,000 at auction.

His daughter Lucy said the sale gave "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".

Christie's is handling negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.

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

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