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Stephen Hawking's wheelchair and thesis to be auctioned by Christie's

The late physicist's daughter said the sale gave "admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life."
Image: A book signed with a thumb print by Stephen Hawking is one of the personal and academic possessions of Stephen Hawking at Christies auction house
This book signed by Stephen Hawking with a thumbprint is being sold.Frank Augstein / AP

LONDON — One of the world's most iconic wheelchairs and a script from "The Simpsons" will be sold at an auction of some of Stephen Hawking's possessions.

The online sale announced Monday by auctioneer Christie's features 22 items owned by the late physicist who put black holes on the map. They include Hawking's 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."

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Thomas Venning, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, said the papers "trace the development of his thought — this brilliant, electrifying intelligence."

Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, the cosmologist survived for decades, dying in March aged 76.

The auction includes one of five existing copies of Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes," which carries an estimated price of $130,000 to $195,000.

Venning said Hawking "very much thought of himself as a scientist first and a popular communicator second," but accepted and even enjoyed his celebrity status. He appeared several times on animated comedy show "The Simpsons" and kept a figurine of himself from the show in his office.

The sale includes a script from one of Hawking's "Simpson's" appearances, a copy of his best-seller "A Brief History of Time" signed with a thumbprint and a personalized bomber jacket that he wore in a documentary.

Hawking's daughter Lucy said the sale gave "admirers of his work the chance to acquire a memento of our father's extraordinary life in the shape of a small selection of evocative and fascinating items."

The items — part of a science sale that includes papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein — will be on display in London for several days from Oct. 30.

The auction is open for bids between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8.