Professor Hawking, who died in 2018, was well-known for his contributions to astrophysics as well as his diagnosis of motor neuron disease.
Two UK cultural organisations have purchased a collection of Professor Stephen Hawking’s personal items and papers, which will serve as a time capsule of his life and career.
It is the result of a collaboration between the government, the Science Museum Group, and the Cambridge University Library.
The entirety of his office will be conserved at the Science Museum in London, with selected highlights on exhibit beginning in early 2022.
One of his first voice synthesizers, one of his last wheelchairs, scientific bets signed with his thumbprint, and letters to popes, presidents, and scientists will be among the items on display.
A pair of his glasses with a sensor that he operated by twitching his cheek will also be on display at the museum.
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.
The glasses were equipped with an infrared LED and receiver, which were connected to an analogue blink switch that turned the signals into an on-off switch.
Stephen Hawking is widely regarded as one of the greatest 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.”
“He was a scientist, he was a campaigner, he was a very courageous man, he was a medical miracle, he was a friend to all sorts of extraordinary people. And yet, of course, he was our father as well.”
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, director 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 means that three of the most important scientific archives will be accessible from a single location.
Mr Hawking died in March 2018 at the age of 76, after suffering from motor neuron disease for more than five decades, and his remains were laid alongside Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey.
He started his graduation career at the University of Cambridge, where he held 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 throughout the world, an inspiration to all who encountered him, and admired by many, including myself.”
When his PhD thesis was made freely available in 2017, Mr Hawking said: “Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge.”
The massive scientific treasure trove is hoped to benefit today’s young scientists and even inspire the next Professor Stephen Hawking.