Could you make Stephen Hawking's voice heard?

  • British physicist Stephen Hawking is looking for an assistant to travel the globe with him and help him communicate.

    In a week or two's time, an official ad will appear inviting applications. In the meantime, there's a heads-up that the post is soon to become available here.

    "It is not a PhD or Post-Doc position for academics looking to study physics, but a purely technical post to allow Prof. Hawking to function within the physics community and as a public speaker," the page explains.

    The job will start in February, it says, and will involve around three months' travel a year. Indeed, organizing that travel for Hawking and his care team is a large part of the job.

    The other main function is to help develop and maintain the professor's speech and communication systems - highly complicated, as the communication system connects to the internet via a cellphone connection, as well as hooking up to Hawking's home automation system.

    Other responsibilities involve the maintenance of Hawking's wheelchairs and accessible van. There's even a bit of public relations work thrown in.

    The job will pay £25,000 a year, funded by the University of Cambridge as a research post. It's nominally a 12-month contract, although previous post-holders have stayed for years.

    The money may be on the low side for a position demanding technical, organisational and communication skills, but we suspect there'll be no shortage of applicants.

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