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Stephen Hawking wheelchair, essay for sale

LONDON (AP) –Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, an inspirational figure and a global celebrity. His unique status is reflected…

Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, an inspirational figure and a global celebrity.

His unique status is reflected in an upcoming auction of some of the late physicist’s possessions: It contains complex scientific papers, one of the world’s most iconic wheelchairs and a script from “The Simpsons.”

Online sales announced Monday by auction driver Christie feature 22 articles from Hawking, including his doctoral dissertation on the origins of the universe, some of his many awards and scientific papers such as the Spectrum of Wormholes and the Fundamental Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse.

Thomas Venning, director of Christie’s books and manuscript section, said papers “track the development of his mind-this radiant electrifying intelligence.”

“You can see every advance when he produced it and introduced it to the scientific community “said Venning.

Of course, Hawki ng fame rests only partly on its scientific status as the cosmologist who put black holes on the map.

Diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease of 22 and gave only a few years to live, he survived for decades and die in March at 76.

The auction contains one of five existing copies of Hawking’s 1965 Cambridge University Ph. D. dissertation, “Universal Enhancement Features”, which has an estimated price of £ 100,000 to £ 150,000 ($ 130,000 to $ 195,000).

Venning said the dissertation, signed by the handwritten Hawk in his handwriting, shaken by his illness, is both an important document in the physics’s scientific development and a glimpse in his personal history.

“He was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) just as he arrived in Cambridge to commence his doctoral studies,” said Venning. “He gave up his studies for a while because he was so despaired.”

The dissertation “was the fruit of him who used his scientific work, “said Venning and Hawking,” held it next to him for the rest of his life. “

The disease eventually left Hawking almost completely paralyzed. He communicated via a voice-generating computer and moved into a series of high-tech wheelchairs. One is included in the sale with an estimated £ 10,000 to $ 15,000 pound ($ 13,000 to $ 19,500). Revenue from sales will go to two charity organizations, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Venning said the wheelchair became a symbol not only for disability but by Hawks’ puckish sense of humor. “He once ran over Prince Charles Tears – laughed that he wished he had done the same with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – and appeared in a Monty Python kit that runs down with physicist Brian Cox.

Venning said Hawking “has moved a lot about himself as a researcher first and a popular communicator,” but accepted and even had his celebrity status. He appeared several times on animated comedy show “The Simpsons” and kept a figure of himself from the show in his office .

The sale contains a script from one of Hawk’s “Simpsons” appearances, a copy of his bestseller “A Brief History of Time”, signed with a thumbnail and a personal bomber jacket as he wore in a documentary.

Hawk’s daughter Lucy said that sales gave “admirers of his work the chance to get a memorable one of our father’s extraordinary life in the form of a small selection of moody and fascinating things. “

Hawking children hope to preserve their scientific archives for the nation. Christie s handles negotiations to hand it over to the British authorities instead of inheritance tax.

The items – a part of a science sales containing Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein – will be displayed in London for several days from October 30. The auction is open for bids between 31 October and 8 November.


Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at JillLawless

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