A book that the late physicist Stephen Hawking anyhow signed in 1973, back at the time when he could still hold a pen and pen down his autograph, is going up for the auctions this week by Nate D. Sanders Auctions. Stephen Hawking, likely to be the world’s most famous physicist of his era, left us last month at the age of 76. But he is still alive in young researchers as an inspiration to keep exploring no matter what comes your way.
Stephen Hawking signed the book ”The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution’,” back in 1973, shortly before he was physically not able to write his name due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative nerve condition that’s commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In addition to Hawking, the book is also signed by several other physicists and members of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge University to celebrate an employee who was leaving his job as a computer operator at the Institute of Astronomy (IOA) at the University of Cambridge, in England.
The Hawking’s signature can be seen on the title page of the book “The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution,” (Heinemann, 1973). Legible John Hancock can be seen in blue ink at the bottom of this page. Below Hawking’s signature, one of the well-wishers encrypted, “With gratitude and best wishes from the friends of the IOA computer staff.”
The book also comes with an email chain proving the record of ownership by all the recipients of the book and the auction house states the rare signature as a “fantastic item, captured during the brief time that Hawking’s physical condition was declining but his intellectual achievements were rapidly accelerating.”
Hawking was a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. from 1968 to 1973. He spent most of his life immersed in the study of physics, making some of his earliest scientific discoveries and principles about black holes and quantum mechanics. It was during this time that he published what many consider to be his first crucial book, ”The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time,” which he co-authored with cosmologist George Ellis, published in 1973. The book was such a masterpiece that it’s now considered his classic work and has gone through multiple printings.
It was also during his time at Cambridge where he was diagnosed with ALS, which is a fatal motor neuron disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. By the year 1975, at age 21, he needed a wheelchair to get around.
Although Hawking, who passed away on March 14, may have been confined and incapable physically, he managed to live an exploring life. Some of his notable accomplishments include writing books, including the best seller and youngsters favorite “A Brief History of Time,” teaching physics and mathematics, floating in zero gravity, delivering speeches, all while working in the fields of quantum gravity and cosmology.
Biddings for the 9 by 11.25-inch (23 by 28 centimeters) book start at $28,000. Bidding will end at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday April 26th. The book comes with an explanation of its provenance, described by the recipient of the book, which is the first edition.
Stephen Hawking once said: “My goal is simple. It is the complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” Truly Marvelous.