In Brief

Stephen Hawking auction: what’s on sale

The late physicist’s groundbreaking 1965 Cambridge PhD thesis is among almost two dozen items going under hammer

Fans of Stephen Hawking are being offered the chance to buy personal possessions left by the late physicist including his doctoral thesis, his wheelchair and a script from an episode of The Simpsons in which he featured.

New York-based auction house Christie’s has announced that a total of 22 items owned by Hawking, who died in March this year at the age of 76, will go under the hammer in an online sale between 31 October and 8 November.

They include his “doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, some of his many awards, and scientific papers such as Spectrum of Wormholes and Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse”, NBC News reports.

One of the five known remaining copies of his 1965 Cambridge University PhD thesis, Properties of Expanding Universes, will also go up for auction, with an estimated price of £100,000-£150,000.

Thomas Venning, head of the Christie’s books and manuscripts department, said Hawking’s writings “trace the development of his thought - this brilliant, electrifying intelligence”.

Venning added: “You can see each advance as he produced it and introduced it to the scientific community.”

All proceeds from its sale will go to two charities, The Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, says the Associated Press. Hawking had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - also known as motor neurone disease - which left him paralysed for most of his life and unable to communicate without the aid of a computer.

“He was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) just as he arrived in Cambridge to begin his PhD studies,” Venning says. “He gave up his studies for a time because he was so despondent.”

Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, said the auction would give “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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