Stephen Hawking's dissertation and wheelchair achieve far more than expected at an auction

LONDON – A wheelchair that is used by physicists Stephen Hawking has sold at almost 300,000 pounds, or $ 393,000, at auction, while a copy of his thesis gained nearly £ 585,000 ($ 767,000), auctioneer Christie said Thursday.

The motorized chair, used by Hawking after being paralyzed with motor neuron disease – also called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease – raised £ 296,750 in a Christie's online auction. That is almost 20 times more than the estimate of the pre-sale of up to 15,000 pounds.

The proceeds from the sale of the chair go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University dissertation, "Properties of Expanding Universe", sold for £ 584,750, more than three times the estimated value before sale, in the online auction.

Hawking transformed our notion of space and time and the nature of black holes – and did it all while it was confined to a wheelchair and had no speech. Hawking was born in the English university city of Oxford in 1942, and in the beginning a less-than-stellar student. Hawking was only 21 when he got the degenerative nerve disease and told that he had only a few years to live.

Hawking lived for many decades instead and died last March at the age of 76. He expanded scientific thinking about black holes and the origin of the universe. He became a celebrity in 1988 with the publication of his "A Brief History of Time" – one of the best-selling books on science of all time.

Great Britain Stephen Hawking Auction

A Stephen Hawking book and scripts belong to the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at the Christies auction house in London, Friday, October 19, 2018.

Frank Augstein / AP

He even went to guest star at The Simpsons & # 39; A script of one of his performances in the animated TV show sold for £ 6,250 in the sale of 22 Hawking items, while a collection of his medals and awards earned £ 296,750.

Hawking's daughter Lucy said the sale gave "admirers of his work the opportunity to get a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the form of a small selection of suggestive and fascinating items."

Hawking's children hope to keep his scientific archive for the country. Christie's deals with the negotiations to transfer it to the British authorities instead of inheritance tax.

Great Britain Stephen Hawking Auction

In this Friday, October 19, 2018, file photo, documents and files by Stephen Hawking the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at the Christies auction house in London.

Frank Augstein / AP

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