Late physicist Stephen Hawking's wheelchair, thesis auction for over $1mn


The physicist spent most of his life steadily losing control over his muscles because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Hawking's 117-page dissertation "Properties of expanding universes" from 1965 sold for 584,750 pounds ($764,024) well ahead of the estimate of up to 150,000 pounds. A wheelchair used by Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for nearly 300,000 pounds ($393,000), while a copy of the scientist's doctoral thesis fetched nearly 585,000 pounds ($767,000).

A motorised wheelchair used by the late British physicist Stephen Hawking sold at auction on Thursday for almost 300,000 pounds ($391,740) while a dissertation raised nearly twice that at a sale to raise money for charity.

Originally given just two years to live, Hawking lived for 55 years following his diagnosis, using a wheelchair for the vast majority of his life, before his death on March 14 at 76.

Belongings of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein were auctioned by Christie's on Thursday.

When the document was made available online past year by Cambridge University, where Hawking spent his career, it was so popular that it crashed the website.

A collection of Hawking's medals and awards fetched almost £300,000 ($392,000) more-again well above the expected price.

And quirky items included an invitation to a party he held in 2009 where nobody turned up - because the invites were only for time travellers and the event was publicised after it happened.

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. Proceeds will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which facilitates research into cosmology and astrophysics, as well as the Motor Neurone Disease Association, supporting research and campaigning for those living with the disease.