Sci-tech

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair and thesis fetch more than US$1m at auction

Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair and thesis fetch more than US$1m at auction

The motorised chair, used by the physicist after he was paralysed with motor neuron disease, sold for £296,750 in a Christie's online auction.

In total, the auction included 52 lots and raised around $2.35 million.

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.

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Hawking's red chair was among one of the earliest wheelchairs he used after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The money will go to his foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

An invitation he sent out to a party held several years previously, a light-hearted experiment to see if any time travellers would turn up, sold for more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate of £100, while a bomber jacket he wore in a 2016 documentary raised £40,000.

Hawking died at the age of 76 in March, he suffered from motor neuron disease most of his life. A motorised wheelchair that belonged to the physicist, who died in March and which was expected to fetch £15,000, went for nearly £300,000.

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During the auction was able to implement a single instance of the thesis that the scientist has created fifty-three years ago.

"Hawking initially resisted the idea of using a wheelchair in the late 1960s; by the late 1970s, he was using motorized models like the present example, and was even renowned for being a rather wild driver", said Christie's.

Some of his belongings including essays, medals, awards and a copy of his book a "Brief History of Time" signed with a thumbprint were sold online on Thursday alongside letters and manuscripts belonging to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

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Professor Hawking's 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".


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