Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration, and a global celebrity. His unique status is reflected in an upcoming auction of some of the late physicist's possessions: It includes complex scientific papers, one of the world's most iconic wheelchairs, and a script from one of his appearances on The Simpsons. The online sale announced Monday by Christie's features 22 items from 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," the AP reports. The items are part of a science sale that includes papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein.
Hawking, diagnosed with motor neurone disease at 22 and given just a few years to live, survived for decades and died in March at 76. The disease eventually left Hawking almost completely paralyzed. He moved in a series of high-tech wheelchairs. One is included in the sale, with an estimated price of $13,000 to $19,500. Proceeds from its sale will go to two charities, the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Thomas Venning at Christie's says the wheelchair became a symbol not just of disability but of Hawking's "puckish sense of humor." He once ran over Prince Charles' toes—and reportedly joked that he wished he had done the same to Margaret Thatcher. (In a newly released book, Hawking warns of "superhumans.")