For the next few months, it will be possible to see some of the objects from the late Professor Stephen Hawkings Cambridge office on display in the Science Museum.
It’s a smallish display, appropriately next to the space galleries, but includes a number of items important to him if less well known to us, as well as the obvious, such as the famous wheelchair and speech synthesizer he used. As a display though it shows off his humour, from the Simpsons jacket as a memento of his appearance as a yellow-faced cartoon character to a photo of his appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The biggest though is one of his prized possessions, a preserved blackboard with scribbles and doodles which was created in 1980 at a conference in Cambridge, and guests were invited to scribble all over it. If you look hard you might recognise names, but really it’s just a visual feast of what theoretical physicists think about when not thinking about theoretical physics.
Hawking had this souvenir framed and hung in his office and now, forty years later, the Science Museum’s conservators have stabilised the chalk dust so it can continue to be enjoyed by those who see it.
Unsurprisingly, dominating the display is the wheelchair and screen he used to communicate with, but more pertinent to the man, the research papers and some of his many awards.
It’s a modest display in a smallish room, but it shows the key objects people will want to see, and for any science-geek, pretty much up there in the celebrity fandom zone for a visit.
The exhibition is at the Science Museum until 12th June as a free exhibition, and is then expected to tour the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham, during 2023 and 2024.
The temporary display contents of which were acquired for the nation by the Science Museum Group in May 2021 through the UK Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme.