Chair Stephen Hawking sell at auction

Almost two dozen personal items belonging to the late legendary physicist Stephen Hawking will be for sale at auction beginning on Halloween day.

The online sale announced on Monday by auctioneer Christie's features 22 items from Professor Hawking, including 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. As a part of a science sale including papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, the Hawking auction will open for bids on October 31.

The chair on sale was used by Stephen Hawking from the end of the 1980s until the early years of the 1990s, before he became unable to use his hands to drive a wheelchair.

Hawking's wheelchair will also be auctioned off, with the proceeds going toward the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

"It has been a huge privilege for Christie's to work on this selection of objects from the estate of one of the most brilliant minds of the last half-century", Thomas Venning, head of Christies' books and manuscripts department, said in a press release announcing the auction.

Ms Hawking said Christie's had been helping the family "manage our beloved father's unique and precious collection of personal and professional belongings".

At the age of just 22, he was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease and given just a few years to live.

Upon his passing in March, Stephen Hawking bequeathed a scientific legacy that will descend to new researchers and theoreticians for generations to come. The wheelchair, estimated to be worth between $13,000 and $19,500, is included in the sale.

As the disease progressed, Hawking began using a wheelchair and communicating with others using a voice-generating computer.

Days after legendary physicist Stephen Hawking's final paper was published, a great number of his prized possessions will go up for auction, including some of his most important papers, including his doctoral thesis, a copy of "A Brief History of Time" and the script for one of his appearances on "The Simpsons".

Also on the block is a thumbprint-autographed original copy of the 1988 book that passed from Carl Sagan to Hawking the unofficial title of the world's leading cosmic explainer.

Prof Hawking's daughter Lucy said the auction would give people the chance to "acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life". The auction is open for bids between October 31 and November 8.

  • Joey Payne