Feeds

Stephen Hawking seeks geek to maintain his unique wheelchair

£25k for gadgeteer to keep custom robovoice ride rolling

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.