The archive of physicist Stephen Hawking left for academia and museums


Stephen Hawking’s wheelchairs, a trove of his journals on theoretical physics and the bets made with colleagues and signed with his imprint are among the effects that have been given to academia and museums by the family. of the famous scientist.

The Cambridge University Library acquires Hawking’s scientific journals and journals while the Science Museum Group will preserve the contents of its office, including its wheelchair and innovative communication devices that have generated its famous “voice of computers “.

The museum said it aimed to put objects on public display in early 2022 before turning them around in the UK.

Hawking he died in 2018 after a lifetime of scientific achievement, after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease in the early 1960s and saying he had only about two years to live.

The astrophysicist made a series of diamonds discovered in his field, exploring the relationship between gravity, space, and time. He held the position of Lucanian professor of mathematics at Cambridge for three decades, a position once occupied by Sir Isaac Newton. His ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey, between Newton and Charles Darwin.

Jessica Gardner, left, and Katrina Dean, of the Cambridge University Library, examine Hawking’s archive documents © Cambridge University

Describing a “very rich archive,” with 50 boxes of journals embracing childhood letters and the first, invisible brothels of scientific journals in Hawking’s handwriting, Jessica Gardner, a university librarian at Cambridge, said it would be a priority to catalog. , digitize and make works available online that have commanded a strong audience fascination for decades.

“It shouldn’t be in Cambridge or Kenya,” he said. “The goal is to make it as open and accessible as possible to everyone.”

A pair of glasses worn by Stephen Hawking that were equipped with an infrared sensor to detect tiny movements of his cheek to aid communication © Science Museum Group

The content of his office shone a light on his creative and collaborative methods, in which he worked on ideas with colleagues through increasingly sophisticated communications, the Museum of Science said. To continue working as his illness progressed, he became a pioneer of assistive technology. The legacy includes a pair of glasses equipped with an infrared sensor to detect small movements of his cheek to aid communication.

The Science Museum, where Hawking’s parents will let him roam alone as a child, will also purchase typewritten copies of the games released by Hawking and his colleagues to see if academic theories will be proven successful.

A scientific bet by Stephen Hawking with Kip Thorne against John Preskill that includes the imprint of the British physicist © Science Museum Group

One was made in February 1997 by Hawking and Kip Thorne against John Preskill, both theoretical physicists from the United States. Hawking and Thorne argued that information entering a black hole was lost forever, in contradiction to a principle of quantum mechanics. Hawking signed the bet with his fingerprint and kept it in his office – the winner has the right to claim an encyclopedia.

At a conference in Dublin in 2004, Hawking accepted the bet and changed his position, giving a baseball encyclopedia to Preskill – but other physicists asked if he had reason to change his mind.

The Hawking effects were acquired in accordance with the government’s acceptance scheme in place, which allows those with a succession tax bill to offset the tax by making significant donations to the nation by offering them to a museum or gallery, which typically pay nothing. Hawking’s property set £ 2.8 million in tax for the archive and £ 1.4 million for the office’s contents.



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