Stephen Hawking’s glasses and wheelchair among exhibits at the Science Museum in London

Stephen Hawking’s glasses and wheelchair among exhibits at the Science Museum in London

A collection of personal objects and items of Professor Stephen Hawking was acquired by two British cultural institutions, acting as a time capsule of his life and career.

It follows an agreement between the government, the Science Museum Group and the Cambridge University Library.

All of his office content will be kept at the Science Museum in London, with a selection of highlights on display in early 2022.

Professor Hawking died in 2018

It will feature one of his first voice synthesizers, one of his last wheelchairs, science bets signed with his thumbprint, and letters he wrote to popes, presidents and scientists.

Also at the museum there will be a pair of his glasses, which had a sensor that he controlled by twisting his cheek.

The first generations of his communication equipment were controlled by finger clickers, but in 2008 he was no longer able to use his fingers so they developed a system on the glasses.

The glasses had an infrared LED and a receiver and they connected to an analog flicker switch that converted the signals to an on-off switch.

Stephen Hawking is known as one of the greatest scientific minds of the last century.

His daughter Lucy Hawking said that “the really fascinating things in his life are the number of different sons,” and that the collections paint a picture of the rounded person he was.

“He was a scientist, he was an activist, he was a very courageous man, he was a medical miracle, he was friends with all kinds of extraordinary people. And yet, of course, he was also our father. “

Sir Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, says that by preserving the objects, future generations will be able to immerse themselves in the mind of a scientist who “defied the laws of medicine to rewrite the laws of physics and touch the hearts of millions of people ”.

The scientist’s wheelchair. Pic: Scientific media group

The University of Cambridge archives contain 10,000 pages of the work of Professor Hawking and will live under the same roof as the papers of his idol Sir Isaac Newton and the work of Charles Darwin. This means that three of the most important scientific archives will be available in one place.

After living with motor neuron disease for more than five decades, Mr. Hawking died at the age of 76 in March 2018 and his ashes were interred in Westminster Abbey alongside Sir Isaac.

He began his academic career at the University of Cambridge and held an office there until shortly before his death.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J. Toope said he was “an iconic figure not only in this university and city, but around the world, an inspiration to all who met him. and admired by many, including me ”.

A copy of his thesis. Pic: Scientific media group

When his doctoral thesis was made available for free in 2017, Mr Hawking said: “Every generation stands on the shoulders of those who came before them, just as I did as a young doctoral student at Cambridge. “

It is hoped that the vast scientific treasure will serve today’s young scientists and perhaps inspire the next Professor Stephen Hawking.


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