Two UK cultural organizations have purchased a collection of Professor Stephen Hawking’s personal items and documents, which will serve as a time capsule of his life and work.
It is the result of a collaboration between the government, the Science Museum Group, and the Cambridge University Library.
One of his earliest voice synthesizers, one of his final wheelchairs, scientific bets signed with his thumbprint, and letters to popes, presidents, and scientists will be among the items on display.
His communications equipment was originally operated by finger clickers, but by 2008, he was no longer able to use his fingers, so they designed a device that was worn on his eyeglasses.
Stephen Hawking is widely regarded as one of the finest scientists of the twentieth century.
“One of the most amazing things about his life was how many various strands there were,” his daughter Lucy Hawking said, adding that the collections “create a portrait of the whole person he was.”
Future generations will be able to dive into the mind of a scientist who “defied the norms of medicine to rewrite the rules of physics and touch the hearts of millions,” according to Sir Ian Blatchford, head of the Science Museum Group.
The archive at the University of Cambridge has 10,000 pages of Prof Hawking’s work, which will be housed alongside Sir Isaac Newton’s papers and Charles Darwin’s work. It implies that three of the most significant scientific archives will be accessible from a single location.
He started his graduate career at the University of Cambridge, where he had an office until his death.
Professor Stephen J Toope, the university’s vice-chancellor, described him as “an iconic personality not only in this university and city, but around the world, an inspiration to everyone who encountered him, and admired by many, including myself.”
“Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young Ph.D. student at Cambridge,” Mr. Hawking remarked when his Ph.D. thesis was made openly available in 2017.
The massive scientific treasure trove is believed to benefit today’s young scientists and even inspire the next Professor Stephen Hawking.