Professor Stephen Hawking in his office
Professor Stephen Hawking in his office at the department of advanced mathematics and theoretical physics in the University of Cambridge. This photo was commissioned by the Science Museum in 2011 to mark Hawking’s 70th birthday. Image credit: © Sarah Lee.

Cambridge University Library and the Science Museum Group have both acquired items from the archive via an Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) tax agreement with the UK government.

The items include personalised wheelchairs, scientific ‘bets’ signed with a thumbprint that he made with his peers, papers on theoretical physics and his scripts from The Simpsons.

Paper from Professor Stephen Hawking

Among the archive papers belonging to the late Professor Stephen Hawking that will now be part of the acceptance in lieu bequest are these scientific papers. Image credit: © Science Museum Group.

The acceptance of the archive settled £2.8m of tax and the acceptance of the contents of Stephen Hawking’s office settled £1.4m tax.

The entire contents of Hawking’s office will be preserved as part of the Science Museum Group Collection, with selected highlights going on display in 2022.

In November 2018, 22 lots from Hawking’s estate sold at Christie’s following his death in the March of that year. They raised a premium-inclusive total of £1.82m.

Christie’s Heritage and Taxation Advisory Service advised on the tax deal.

Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “Stephen Hawking’s incredible discoveries made an unforgettable impact on the world. The Science Museum and Cambridge University Library are fitting homes for his lifetime of work on the frontier of modern science. Thanks to the generosity of his family, this extraordinary collection can now be displayed to the public where it will inspire curious minds for years to come.”

Lucy, Tim and Robert Hawking said: “We are very pleased that these two important institutions will preserve our father’s life's work for the benefit of generations to come and make his legacy accessible to the widest possible audience.