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World

Web Desk
November 9, 2018
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Stephen Hawking's thesis, wheelchair fetch over $1.8 million in auction

World

Web Desk
Fri, Nov, 18

Belongings of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein were auctioned by Christie’s on Thursday. Stephen Hawking’s motorized wheelchair and a set of his medals and awards have been sold for a combined total of nearly £600,000, while a copy of his PhD thesis raised almost the same amount on its own.

Medals and awards sold for £296,750, compared with an estimate of £15,000, while the red motorized wheelchair sold for £296,750, also compared with an estimate of £15,000.

One of Newton’s manuscripts sold for £100,000, a letter written by Darwin went for £50,000 and a bidder agreed to pay £32,500 for one of Einstein’s manuscripts.

The sale was named as “On the Shoulder of Giants” which is a reference to the famous phrase once used by Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

The money raised by the sale of the wheelchair at the auction will go to Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Hawking died at the age of 76 in March, he suffered from motor neuron disease most of his life. The great scientist was famous for his work in exploring the origins of the universe.

A copy of Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time” with his thumbprint signature along with his essays, medals and awards were sold for £68,750 in online sale on Thursday. Letters and manuscripts belonged to Newton, Einstein and Darwin were also put on the sale.

Personal copies of the British physicist’s papers, such as a copy of his 1974 article, “Black Hole Explosions?” were also on sale, in which he predicted that black holes would release black body radiation, known as Hawking Radiation. The paper sold for £7,500.

Christie's said before the nine-day online auction that the items represented the "ultimate triumph of scientific brilliance over adversity" and "Stephen  Hawking  was a huge personality worldwide. He had this amazing ability to connect with people," Thomas Venning, head of the Books and Manuscripts department at auction house Christie's London, told Reuters before the event.

The physicist's daughter, Lucy, said Christie's had been helping the family & "manage our beloved father's unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings." 

“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”, she added.

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