Stephen Hawking’s Wheelchair and Doctoral Thesis Sell in Multimillion Dollar Auction

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Image Stephen Hawking died in March at the age of 76

A copy of Stephen Hawking s doctorate thesis signed in a shaky hand was the highlight of an auction of the British physicist s personal items in London, which raised almost £1.4 million ($1.8 million, 1.6 million euros).

Personal items of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, including his personalized wheelchair, doctoral thesis and medals, have been auctioned for over a million dollars. It included items belonging to Hawking, as well as others linked to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. All of those were sold, and the total, about US$1.8 million, was seven times more than had been predicted. Hawking's dissertation was the single most expensive item.

In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells controlling muscles to waste away.

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Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes", was one of the most sought-after artifacts at the auction and raised $763,300 (£584,750).

Image: Some of the professor's medals and awards were sold.

The money from the wheelchair will benefit two charities "The Stephen Hawking Foundation" which he founded in 2015 and The Motor Neurone Disease Association. 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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"Stephen Hawking made four appearances in The Simpsons over a period of 10 years, something he joked made him more famous than anything he had done in science", said Christie's on its website.

Famed for his work exploring the origins of the universe, Hawking died in March at the age of 76 after spending most of his life confined to a wheelchair with motor neurone disease.


The items are only a small selection from Hawking s archive, which his family is donating to the nation in lieu of paying inheritance tax, although there are no details yet of where it will be stored.

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