Stephen Hawking’s children and colleagues discuss physicist’s final book, legacy

In his final book, released Oct. 16, Stephen Hawking tackles big questions about the universe, delving into physics, cosmology, the existence of God and the future direction of humanity. During a panel discussion held Oct. 15 at the Science Museum in London, Hawking's children and colleagues talked about the new book, called "Brief Answers to the Big … Continue reading “Stephen Hawking’s children and colleagues discuss physicist’s final book, legacy”

In his final book, released Oct. 16, Stephen Hawking tackles big questions about the universe, delving into physics, cosmology, the existence of God and the future direction of humanity.

During a panel discussion held Oct. 15 at the Science Museum in London, Hawking's children and colleagues talked about the new book, called "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" (Bantam), and Hawking's lasting impact after his death in March.

Hawking is famous as a theoretical physicist, but also as a science communicator — he burst onto the popular science scene in 1988 with "A Brief History of Time" (Bantam). This new book distills the explanations he's found most relevant since then. [Stephen Hawking's Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities]

"This is almost a response to the response to 'A Brief History of Time,'" Lucy Hawking, the scientist's daughter, said during the panel. "For 30 years my father's been regularly asked questions on a number of existential or scientific or … social questions, and given these very clear responses." Hawking came up with the concept and started the book before his death, but his family and collaborators pulled together the final collection of his answers, according to the panelists.

More From Space.com

  • Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Stephen Hawking’s Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities
  • Hawking’s final paper
  • "He says in the book, people want answers to the big questions, and it was really important to him that he answered all these questions in a way that was accessible, that was engaging, that was entertaining, and that people could relate to," Lucy Hawking said. "He was very keen on creating relevance for people with abstract concepts, and I think that's something this book does in an absolutely fantastic manner — I know people who've looked through the book and said, 'It feels like he's written this for me; I didn't expect that.'"

    Besides the book's release, Hawking's final paper, on the black hole information paradox, was recently published by his colleagues in the preprint journal ArXiv. The paper dealt with an issue Hawking grappled with for years: how to reconcile the fact that black holes slowly evaporate over time, which he discovered, with the idea that the information within them would someday be lost.

    "He realized that there was a conflict between the physics of black holes, as it was then understood, and the laws of quantum mechanics," Malcolm Perry, a co-author on the paper and mathematician at Cambridge University, said during the panel. "Black holes would evaporate, but in so doing lose information, which is something quantum mechanics does not allow."

    "It's a huge problem that Stephen gave to us," Andy Strominger, a physicist at Harvard University and co-author on the paper, said during the panel. "Stephen understood how to put the theory of black holes together with the theory of quantum mechanics, and from that derived the formula which is now on his headstone in Westminster Abbey, which essentially says how many gigabytes [of information are stored] in every black hole that we see up in the sky. And our job is to explain this formula, and it was hard to explain because we had been told that black holes were bald, featureless objects."

    But then, in 2015, Hawking and his collaborators discovered a mechanism by which a black hole might be able to store information at its surface, using ghostly particles with no mass, referred to as "soft hairs." Now, Hawking's collaborators are left to finish tabulating whether those particles could store enough information to dodge the conflict with quantum mechanics.

    "This is what we're very excited about trying to understand in greater and greater mathematical detail," Strominger said. "And this paper which came out last Tuesday is a great step in that direction."

    Hawking's former student Fay Dowker, now a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, discussed how Hawking showed the public the importance of scientists, and also brought scientists together across disciplines.

    "We've lost perhaps our most powerful advocate for the value and importance of fundamental research in physics and science," Dowker said during the panel. "But as the physics community itself, internally, Stephen was a very powerful binding force in that community. At his large birthday conferences, many people would come, drawn by love and respect for Stephen, from an enormous range of different areas, all touched by his work."

    "His scientific legacy is enormously broad — epically broad, I would say — so there would be cosmologists, people working on black holes, on gravitational waves, on quantum gravity, on string theory, on foundations of quantum mechanics, on condensed matter theory, on quantum information, and they would all be drawn together by Stephen," she added. "That force, to bring so many people working on so many different things together, is something that we will sadly miss."

    According to Timothy Hawking, Hawking's son, this new book pulls together themes Hawking has touched on throughout his career in popular science — not to mention in discussions at the dinner table. It seems poised to connect with a public looking for the guiding force of science in the world today, from a man whose name has become synonymous with the cutting edge of science.

    "If you had to sum up this book, I would say it's a call to unity, it's a call to humanity, it's a call to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of ourselves and try to work together to find a solution," Lucy Hawking said.

    "I think that reading through the book again, it's almost like his voice has been leaping off the page as I've been reading through the chapters, and it's been very nice to connect with him again in that way," Timothy Hawking added.

    You can watch the Oct. 15 panel here.

    Original article on Space.com.

    Stephen Hawking’s prized possessions up for auction

    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."

    Twenty-two lots will be up for auction between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8 in an online Christie's auction known as "On the Shoulders of Giants." Included in the lots are 12 of Hawking's most important published papers, including his 1965 doctorate thesis. At the time, Hawking had already been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or colloquially known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). The thesis is signed by Hawking:  "This dissertation is my original work, S.W. Hawking."

    It is one of five known copies of his thesis, the auction house said, and has a pre-sale estimate between $126,000 and $189,000.

    STEPHEN HAWKING'S FINAL PAPER REVEALED

    In October 2017, the University of Cambridge uploaded Hawking's thesis to its website and the surge in traffic from interested parties crashed the website.

    "The lots selected for sale highlight Professor Hawking’s remarkable achievements in science alongside his unique personality and inspirational life story," Thomas Venning, Head of the Books and Manuscripts department, said in a statement.

    The auction will conclude with Professor Hawking’s wheelchair, which Venning said allowed him to tour "the world as a successful scientific communicator, and from which his mind voyaged to the outer reaches of space-time, making it literally and figuratively one of the most-traveled wheelchairs in history." Its pre-sale estimated value is between $12,600 and $18,900.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said.

    Although Hawking may have been incapacitated physically, he managed to inspire people around the globe, teaching physics and mathematics, delivering speeches and floating in zero gravity, all while working in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.

    He was not modest about what he wanted to do. "My goal is simple," he once said. "It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    — Stephen Hawking

    In addition, the London-based auction house will also put up a copy of "A Brief History of Time", a 1988 best-seller, that is signed with Hawking's thumbprint. A leather bomber jacket and a copy of the script of the 22nd season premiere of "The Simpsons," entitled "Elementary School Musical," for which Hawking lent his voice.

    After Hawking passed away in March this year at the age of 76, "The Simpsons" paid tribute to the renowned physicist.

    A LOOK BACK ON THE LIFE OF RENOWNED PHYSICIST STEPHEN HAWKING

    In the aforementioned statement, Stephen Hawking's daughter, Lucy, said the family was happy with work with the auction house to give his fans a chance to acquire part of his accomplishments.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    "We hope to be able to offer our father’s archive to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu* process as we feel it is a huge part of his legacy but also of the history of science in this country," Lucy said. "We are also giving 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."

    Aside from some of Hawking's possessions being offered, possessions from other famous scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein will be included in the auction.

    Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

    Stephen Hawking wheelchair sells for nearly $400G at auction

    LONDON (AP) — A wheelchair used by physicist Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for almost 300,000 pounds ($393,000), while a copy of his doctoral thesis fetched almost 585,000 pounds ($767,000), auctioneer Christie's said Thursday.

    The motorized chair, used by Hawking after he was paralyzed with motor neuron disease, raised 296,750 pounds in a Christie's online auction. It had been expected to fetch up to 15,000 pounds.

    Proceeds from the chair's sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

    Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes," sold for 584,750 pounds, more than three times its pre-sale estimate, in the online auction.

    Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, Hawking instead died in March at 76. He expanded scientific thinking about black holes and the origins of the universe and attained celebrity status, writing best-selling books and guest starring on "The Simpsons."

    A script from one of his appearances on the animated TV show sold for 6,250 pounds in the sale of 22 Hawking items, while a collection of his medals and awards raised 296,750 pounds.

    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."

    Hawking's children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation. Christie's is handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.

    Stephen Hawking’s children and colleagues discuss physicist’s final book, legacy

    In his final book, released Oct. 16, Stephen Hawking tackles big questions about the universe, delving into physics, cosmology, the existence of God and the future direction of humanity.

    During a panel discussion held Oct. 15 at the Science Museum in London, Hawking's children and colleagues talked about the new book, called "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" (Bantam), and Hawking's lasting impact after his death in March.

    Hawking is famous as a theoretical physicist, but also as a science communicator — he burst onto the popular science scene in 1988 with "A Brief History of Time" (Bantam). This new book distills the explanations he's found most relevant since then. [Stephen Hawking's Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities]

    "This is almost a response to the response to 'A Brief History of Time,'" Lucy Hawking, the scientist's daughter, said during the panel. "For 30 years my father's been regularly asked questions on a number of existential or scientific or … social questions, and given these very clear responses." Hawking came up with the concept and started the book before his death, but his family and collaborators pulled together the final collection of his answers, according to the panelists.

    More From Space.com

  • Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Stephen Hawking’s Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities
  • Hawking’s final paper
  • "He says in the book, people want answers to the big questions, and it was really important to him that he answered all these questions in a way that was accessible, that was engaging, that was entertaining, and that people could relate to," Lucy Hawking said. "He was very keen on creating relevance for people with abstract concepts, and I think that's something this book does in an absolutely fantastic manner — I know people who've looked through the book and said, 'It feels like he's written this for me; I didn't expect that.'"

    Besides the book's release, Hawking's final paper, on the black hole information paradox, was recently published by his colleagues in the preprint journal ArXiv. The paper dealt with an issue Hawking grappled with for years: how to reconcile the fact that black holes slowly evaporate over time, which he discovered, with the idea that the information within them would someday be lost.

    "He realized that there was a conflict between the physics of black holes, as it was then understood, and the laws of quantum mechanics," Malcolm Perry, a co-author on the paper and mathematician at Cambridge University, said during the panel. "Black holes would evaporate, but in so doing lose information, which is something quantum mechanics does not allow."

    "It's a huge problem that Stephen gave to us," Andy Strominger, a physicist at Harvard University and co-author on the paper, said during the panel. "Stephen understood how to put the theory of black holes together with the theory of quantum mechanics, and from that derived the formula which is now on his headstone in Westminster Abbey, which essentially says how many gigabytes [of information are stored] in every black hole that we see up in the sky. And our job is to explain this formula, and it was hard to explain because we had been told that black holes were bald, featureless objects."

    But then, in 2015, Hawking and his collaborators discovered a mechanism by which a black hole might be able to store information at its surface, using ghostly particles with no mass, referred to as "soft hairs." Now, Hawking's collaborators are left to finish tabulating whether those particles could store enough information to dodge the conflict with quantum mechanics.

    "This is what we're very excited about trying to understand in greater and greater mathematical detail," Strominger said. "And this paper which came out last Tuesday is a great step in that direction."

    Hawking's former student Fay Dowker, now a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, discussed how Hawking showed the public the importance of scientists, and also brought scientists together across disciplines.

    "We've lost perhaps our most powerful advocate for the value and importance of fundamental research in physics and science," Dowker said during the panel. "But as the physics community itself, internally, Stephen was a very powerful binding force in that community. At his large birthday conferences, many people would come, drawn by love and respect for Stephen, from an enormous range of different areas, all touched by his work."

    "His scientific legacy is enormously broad — epically broad, I would say — so there would be cosmologists, people working on black holes, on gravitational waves, on quantum gravity, on string theory, on foundations of quantum mechanics, on condensed matter theory, on quantum information, and they would all be drawn together by Stephen," she added. "That force, to bring so many people working on so many different things together, is something that we will sadly miss."

    According to Timothy Hawking, Hawking's son, this new book pulls together themes Hawking has touched on throughout his career in popular science — not to mention in discussions at the dinner table. It seems poised to connect with a public looking for the guiding force of science in the world today, from a man whose name has become synonymous with the cutting edge of science.

    "If you had to sum up this book, I would say it's a call to unity, it's a call to humanity, it's a call to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of ourselves and try to work together to find a solution," Lucy Hawking said.

    "I think that reading through the book again, it's almost like his voice has been leaping off the page as I've been reading through the chapters, and it's been very nice to connect with him again in that way," Timothy Hawking added.

    You can watch the Oct. 15 panel here.

    Original article on Space.com.

    Stephen Hawking’s prized possessions up for auction

    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."

    Twenty-two lots will be up for auction between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8 in an online Christie's auction known as "On the Shoulders of Giants." Included in the lots are 12 of Hawking's most important published papers, including his 1965 doctorate thesis. At the time, Hawking had already been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or colloquially known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). The thesis is signed by Hawking:  "This dissertation is my original work, S.W. Hawking."

    It is one of five known copies of his thesis, the auction house said, and has a pre-sale estimate between $126,000 and $189,000.

    STEPHEN HAWKING'S FINAL PAPER REVEALED

    In October 2017, the University of Cambridge uploaded Hawking's thesis to its website and the surge in traffic from interested parties crashed the website.

    "The lots selected for sale highlight Professor Hawking’s remarkable achievements in science alongside his unique personality and inspirational life story," Thomas Venning, Head of the Books and Manuscripts department, said in a statement.

    The auction will conclude with Professor Hawking’s wheelchair, which Venning said allowed him to tour "the world as a successful scientific communicator, and from which his mind voyaged to the outer reaches of space-time, making it literally and figuratively one of the most-traveled wheelchairs in history." Its pre-sale estimated value is between $12,600 and $18,900.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said.

    Although Hawking may have been incapacitated physically, he managed to inspire people around the globe, teaching physics and mathematics, delivering speeches and floating in zero gravity, all while working in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.

    He was not modest about what he wanted to do. "My goal is simple," he once said. "It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    — Stephen Hawking

    In addition, the London-based auction house will also put up a copy of "A Brief History of Time", a 1988 best-seller, that is signed with Hawking's thumbprint. A leather bomber jacket and a copy of the script of the 22nd season premiere of "The Simpsons," entitled "Elementary School Musical," for which Hawking lent his voice.

    After Hawking passed away in March this year at the age of 76, "The Simpsons" paid tribute to the renowned physicist.

    A LOOK BACK ON THE LIFE OF RENOWNED PHYSICIST STEPHEN HAWKING

    In the aforementioned statement, Stephen Hawking's daughter, Lucy, said the family was happy with work with the auction house to give his fans a chance to acquire part of his accomplishments.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    "We hope to be able to offer our father’s archive to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu* process as we feel it is a huge part of his legacy but also of the history of science in this country," Lucy said. "We are also giving 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."

    Aside from some of Hawking's possessions being offered, possessions from other famous scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein will be included in the auction.

    Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

    Stephen Hawking wheelchair sells for nearly $400G at auction

    LONDON (AP) — A wheelchair used by physicist Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for almost 300,000 pounds ($393,000), while a copy of his doctoral thesis fetched almost 585,000 pounds ($767,000), auctioneer Christie's said Thursday.

    The motorized chair, used by Hawking after he was paralyzed with motor neuron disease, raised 296,750 pounds in a Christie's online auction. It had been expected to fetch up to 15,000 pounds.

    Proceeds from the chair's sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

    Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes," sold for 584,750 pounds, more than three times its pre-sale estimate, in the online auction.

    Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, Hawking instead died in March at 76. He expanded scientific thinking about black holes and the origins of the universe and attained celebrity status, writing best-selling books and guest starring on "The Simpsons."

    A script from one of his appearances on the animated TV show sold for 6,250 pounds in the sale of 22 Hawking items, while a collection of his medals and awards raised 296,750 pounds.

    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."

    Hawking's children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation. Christie's is handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.

    Stephen Hawking’s children and colleagues discuss physicist’s final book, legacy

    In his final book, released Oct. 16, Stephen Hawking tackles big questions about the universe, delving into physics, cosmology, the existence of God and the future direction of humanity.

    During a panel discussion held Oct. 15 at the Science Museum in London, Hawking's children and colleagues talked about the new book, called "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" (Bantam), and Hawking's lasting impact after his death in March.

    Hawking is famous as a theoretical physicist, but also as a science communicator — he burst onto the popular science scene in 1988 with "A Brief History of Time" (Bantam). This new book distills the explanations he's found most relevant since then. [Stephen Hawking's Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities]

    "This is almost a response to the response to 'A Brief History of Time,'" Lucy Hawking, the scientist's daughter, said during the panel. "For 30 years my father's been regularly asked questions on a number of existential or scientific or … social questions, and given these very clear responses." Hawking came up with the concept and started the book before his death, but his family and collaborators pulled together the final collection of his answers, according to the panelists.

    More From Space.com

  • Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Stephen Hawking’s Best Books: Black Holes, Multiverses and Singularities
  • Hawking’s final paper
  • "He says in the book, people want answers to the big questions, and it was really important to him that he answered all these questions in a way that was accessible, that was engaging, that was entertaining, and that people could relate to," Lucy Hawking said. "He was very keen on creating relevance for people with abstract concepts, and I think that's something this book does in an absolutely fantastic manner — I know people who've looked through the book and said, 'It feels like he's written this for me; I didn't expect that.'"

    Besides the book's release, Hawking's final paper, on the black hole information paradox, was recently published by his colleagues in the preprint journal ArXiv. The paper dealt with an issue Hawking grappled with for years: how to reconcile the fact that black holes slowly evaporate over time, which he discovered, with the idea that the information within them would someday be lost.

    "He realized that there was a conflict between the physics of black holes, as it was then understood, and the laws of quantum mechanics," Malcolm Perry, a co-author on the paper and mathematician at Cambridge University, said during the panel. "Black holes would evaporate, but in so doing lose information, which is something quantum mechanics does not allow."

    "It's a huge problem that Stephen gave to us," Andy Strominger, a physicist at Harvard University and co-author on the paper, said during the panel. "Stephen understood how to put the theory of black holes together with the theory of quantum mechanics, and from that derived the formula which is now on his headstone in Westminster Abbey, which essentially says how many gigabytes [of information are stored] in every black hole that we see up in the sky. And our job is to explain this formula, and it was hard to explain because we had been told that black holes were bald, featureless objects."

    But then, in 2015, Hawking and his collaborators discovered a mechanism by which a black hole might be able to store information at its surface, using ghostly particles with no mass, referred to as "soft hairs." Now, Hawking's collaborators are left to finish tabulating whether those particles could store enough information to dodge the conflict with quantum mechanics.

    "This is what we're very excited about trying to understand in greater and greater mathematical detail," Strominger said. "And this paper which came out last Tuesday is a great step in that direction."

    Hawking's former student Fay Dowker, now a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, discussed how Hawking showed the public the importance of scientists, and also brought scientists together across disciplines.

    "We've lost perhaps our most powerful advocate for the value and importance of fundamental research in physics and science," Dowker said during the panel. "But as the physics community itself, internally, Stephen was a very powerful binding force in that community. At his large birthday conferences, many people would come, drawn by love and respect for Stephen, from an enormous range of different areas, all touched by his work."

    "His scientific legacy is enormously broad — epically broad, I would say — so there would be cosmologists, people working on black holes, on gravitational waves, on quantum gravity, on string theory, on foundations of quantum mechanics, on condensed matter theory, on quantum information, and they would all be drawn together by Stephen," she added. "That force, to bring so many people working on so many different things together, is something that we will sadly miss."

    According to Timothy Hawking, Hawking's son, this new book pulls together themes Hawking has touched on throughout his career in popular science — not to mention in discussions at the dinner table. It seems poised to connect with a public looking for the guiding force of science in the world today, from a man whose name has become synonymous with the cutting edge of science.

    "If you had to sum up this book, I would say it's a call to unity, it's a call to humanity, it's a call to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of ourselves and try to work together to find a solution," Lucy Hawking said.

    "I think that reading through the book again, it's almost like his voice has been leaping off the page as I've been reading through the chapters, and it's been very nice to connect with him again in that way," Timothy Hawking added.

    You can watch the Oct. 15 panel here.

    Original article on Space.com.

    Stephen Hawking’s prized possessions up for auction

    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."

    Twenty-two lots will be up for auction between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8 in an online Christie's auction known as "On the Shoulders of Giants." Included in the lots are 12 of Hawking's most important published papers, including his 1965 doctorate thesis. At the time, Hawking had already been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or colloquially known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). The thesis is signed by Hawking:  "This dissertation is my original work, S.W. Hawking."

    It is one of five known copies of his thesis, the auction house said, and has a pre-sale estimate between $126,000 and $189,000.

    STEPHEN HAWKING'S FINAL PAPER REVEALED

    In October 2017, the University of Cambridge uploaded Hawking's thesis to its website and the surge in traffic from interested parties crashed the website.

    "The lots selected for sale highlight Professor Hawking’s remarkable achievements in science alongside his unique personality and inspirational life story," Thomas Venning, Head of the Books and Manuscripts department, said in a statement.

    The auction will conclude with Professor Hawking’s wheelchair, which Venning said allowed him to tour "the world as a successful scientific communicator, and from which his mind voyaged to the outer reaches of space-time, making it literally and figuratively one of the most-traveled wheelchairs in history." Its pre-sale estimated value is between $12,600 and $18,900.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Christie's said.

    Although Hawking may have been incapacitated physically, he managed to inspire people around the globe, teaching physics and mathematics, delivering speeches and floating in zero gravity, all while working in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.

    He was not modest about what he wanted to do. "My goal is simple," he once said. "It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    — Stephen Hawking

    In addition, the London-based auction house will also put up a copy of "A Brief History of Time", a 1988 best-seller, that is signed with Hawking's thumbprint. A leather bomber jacket and a copy of the script of the 22nd season premiere of "The Simpsons," entitled "Elementary School Musical," for which Hawking lent his voice.

    After Hawking passed away in March this year at the age of 76, "The Simpsons" paid tribute to the renowned physicist.

    A LOOK BACK ON THE LIFE OF RENOWNED PHYSICIST STEPHEN HAWKING

    In the aforementioned statement, Stephen Hawking's daughter, Lucy, said the family was happy with work with the auction house to give his fans a chance to acquire part of his accomplishments.

    (Credit: Christie’s)

    "We hope to be able to offer our father’s archive to the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu* process as we feel it is a huge part of his legacy but also of the history of science in this country," Lucy said. "We are also giving 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."

    Aside from some of Hawking's possessions being offered, possessions from other famous scientists, including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein will be included in the auction.

    Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

    Stephen Hawking wheelchair sells for nearly $400G at auction

    LONDON (AP) — A wheelchair used by physicist Stephen Hawking has sold at auction for almost 300,000 pounds ($393,000), while a copy of his doctoral thesis fetched almost 585,000 pounds ($767,000), auctioneer Christie's said Thursday.

    The motorized chair, used by Hawking after he was paralyzed with motor neuron disease, raised 296,750 pounds in a Christie's online auction. It had been expected to fetch up to 15,000 pounds.

    Proceeds from the chair's sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

    Hawking's 1965 Cambridge University thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes," sold for 584,750 pounds, more than three times its pre-sale estimate, in the online auction.

    Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, Hawking instead died in March at 76. He expanded scientific thinking about black holes and the origins of the universe and attained celebrity status, writing best-selling books and guest starring on "The Simpsons."

    A script from one of his appearances on the animated TV show sold for 6,250 pounds in the sale of 22 Hawking items, while a collection of his medals and awards raised 296,750 pounds.

    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."

    Hawking's children hope to preserve his scientific archive for the nation. Christie's is handling the negotiations to hand it over to British authorities in lieu of inheritance tax.