The gift has been described by the UK Science Museum as a ‘once in a lifetime’ acquisition and covers thousands of items, personal letters and memorabilia from Hawking’s student life.

The museum and the Cambridge University Library (UL) announced the deal on Wednesday, at a meeting attended by Lucy and Tim Hawking, two of the deceased scientist’s children and UK Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage.

The historic acquisition follows an “Acceptance in Lieu” agreement, a government program in the UK where people can pay their inheritance tax bill by “transferring important cultural, scientific or historical objects and records to the nation. According to Arts Council England.

In a statement, the Science Museum said the acquired contents contained a “treasure trove of archival papers and personal items.”

“Following a replacement acceptance agreement, Hawking’s extensive archives of scientific and personal papers will remain in Cambridge at the University Library, while all contents of Hawking’s office will be preserved as part of the Science Museum Group collection. “, adds the press release.

The contents of Hawking’s office include the scientist’s wheelchairs, speech synthesizers, and personal memories.

About 10,000 pages of his papers will remain in Cambridge, along with a large collection of photographs with figures such as Pope Francis and letters to and from former US President Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate Hillary. Clinton, UL said in a statement.

“Some deeply personal elements are also evident – such as a 1948 letter from a young Stephen to his father,” the statement added.

Among the gifted objects is a letter from 1948, from a young Stephen to his father.

The University of Cambridge said it was raising funds to help preserve and catalog the archives. The Science Museum plans to display a selection of highlights from Hawking’s office in early 2022.

“We are very pleased that these two important institutions are preserving our father’s life’s work for the benefit of future generations and making his legacy accessible to the widest possible audience,” said Hawking’s children, Lucy, Tim and Robert. .

“Our father firmly believed that everyone should have the chance to engage in science, so he would be delighted if his legacy was supported by the Science Museum and the Cambridge University Library.

Hawking was diagnosed at the age of 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but went on to forge a revolutionary career in theoretical physics. He died in 2018, at the age of 76.

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