Stephen Hawking Signed Book
Exceedingly rare 1973 signature by the brilliant theoretical physicist
Stephen William Hawking is a world-renowned British theoretical physicist, known for his contributions to the scientific fields of cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity. Hawking held the title of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, one of the world's most celebrated academic positions first held by Isaac Newtown, and is a fellow at the Royal Society. He authored a number of notable titles, including A Brief History of Time, which was an international bestseller, and is the subject of the movie “The Theory of Everything,” released in 2014.
In 1968, Hawking joined the staff of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, where he remained until 1973. This became the site of some of his most important early scientific breakthroughs in the study of singularities and black holes. At the end of his tenure at the Institute of Astronomy, Hawking published his first book on science, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, a highly technical work exploring the foundation of space itself and its nature of infinite expansion.
At a young age, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a progressive neurodegenerative disease, which has gradually paralyzed him over the decades. This fact had made anything signed by Hawking extremely rare and virtually unheard of. The time from when this autograph was signed marked a period of physical deterioration, and he would soon lose his ability to walk and write; by 1975 he was confined to a wheelchair. Hawking autographs are of the utmost rarity, with this rare example exhibiting ironclad provenance.
Signed book: The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution. First edition, first printing. London: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1973. Hardcover with dust jacket, 9 x 11.25, 207 pages. Signed by Hawking in blue ballpoint, along with 15 other colleagues in various inks, as a presentation to a faculty member. The inscription in one colleague’s hand reads, “With gratitude and best wishes, from the friends of the IOA computer staff.”
Autographic condition is fine; book condition is VG+. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original recipient, reading: “The book was a gift to me in 1973 on leaving a job as a computer operator at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge University where Stephen Hawking also worked as a research scientist.”