Feeds

Stephen Hawking seeks geek to maintain his unique wheelchair

£25k for gadgeteer to keep custom robovoice ride rolling

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Could you repair and tweak superstar physicist Stephen Hawking's robot voice box and gadget-laden wheelchair? If you reckon yes, then the celebrated author and cosmologist wants to hear from you.

He has a technical assistant job going, with a modest graduate salary, and it involves maintaining the electronic systems that allow him to speak in public and meet others in the rock'n'roll globetrotting world of physics.

Ironically, the position involves working for one of the University of Cambridge's top theoretical scientists yet performing rather practical tasks. If chalkboards and equations are your game because tangled wires and humming circuits scare you off, then this probably isn't the career path for you.

It's implied that Prof Hawking's go-go-gadget wheelchair isn't well documented and, as you can see from the picture below, rather ad-hoc. There's no technical support for the gear - whoever gets the job will be the technical support.

The Brief History of Time author has motor neurone disease, which has left him almost completely paralysed, and the black hole probing boffin lost his voice after a tracheotomy operation in the 1980s.

He relies on his souped-up wheelchair to get out and about, and various bits of gear to translate small hand movements into words, spoken in the monotonic robotic voice that - outside the arena of particle physics - he is best-known for. The supercomputer wielding, alien invasion fearing prof also controls things like the lights and doors, TV and other gadgets in his home and office by remote control from his wheelchair.

Could you maintain this, asks Prof Hawking Credit: hawking.org.uk/

According to the unconventional job advert: "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 original purpose of this position was to aid Professor Hawking in those areas which he has difficulty due to his disability. The job has since expanded."

Duties include booking travel arrangements for the prof and his entourage (including yourself), developing and fixing his speech systems, repairing his adapted van, help prepare his lectures, fend off journos, maintain his website and deal with the public.

Most importantly, the ideal candidate must be able to work under pressure, maintain "black box" systems with no instruction manual or technical support, be a whiz with computers and electronics, be able to speak to large audiences and show others how to use complex systems.

Not a big ask, then. The salary is roughly £25k ($38.5k) and the start date is somewhere between February 20 to 27. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.