collection of Professor Stephen Hawking‘s personal belongings and papers has been acquired by two UK cultural institutions and will act as a time capsule of his life and career.

Selected items will go on public view for the first time at the Science Museum in early 2022.

People will be able to explore hundreds of items from his working life when the acquisition is catalogued, photographed and published to the museum’s online collection.

The archive, which will be kept in perpetuity at Cambridge University library. contains letters dating from 1944 to 2008, a first draft of his book A Brief History Of Time, film and TV scripts, and autographed scientific manuscripts from the early phase of his career.

There is also a large collection of photographs, papers and correspondence showing how he communicated with popes, US presidents and leading scientists of the age, including Nobel Prize winners Kip Thorne and Roger Penrose.


Cambridge’s acquisition of the 10,000-page archive means Prof Hawking’s papers join those of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

This brings all three archives together under one roof at Cambridge University Library, where they will be freely accessible to the scientists of tomorrow.

When his PhD thesis was digitised and made freely available by the University Library in 2017, Prof 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.”

Prof Hawking occupied an office at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from 2002 until shortly before his death.

His children 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.

“Our father strongly believed that everyone should have the chance to engage with science so he would be delighted that his legacy will be upheld by the Science Museum and Cambridge University Library.

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