Science

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair sells for R5.5m at auction

Stephen Hawking's wheelchair sells for R5.5m at auction”

English physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in March this year, shortly before his death had predicted that in the future there will be a race of supermen, who will be a threat to humanity.

When the thesis "Properties of Expanding Universes" was published on the internet for free in 2017, the demand was so great that it caused the collapse of the portal of the University of Cambridge. It was expected to go for £100,000 to £150,000.

Hawking completed his thesis in 1965 after a turbulent and tragic start to his career as a theoretical physicist. His doctors gave him just two years to live, and the devastating news led him to lose hope and quit his studies.

"The early cosmologies naturally placed man at or near the centre of the universe, but, since the time of Copernicus we have been demoted to a medium sized planet going round a medium sized star somewhere near the edge of a fairly average galaxy".

A total of 22 items were sold during the online auction.

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.

In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells controlling muscles to waste away.

Among the items sold during the nine-day sale in London was his wheelchair, a signed copy of his Ph.D. thesis at Cambridge University, a script during his appearance on The Simpsons, and many more.

Some of his belongings including essays, medals, awards and a copy of his book a "Brief History of Time" signed with a thumbprint were sold online alongside letters and manuscripts belonging to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Proceeds from the wheelchair sale will go to benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association; proceeds from Prof Hawking's other items will go to his estate.



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