Stephen Hawking Needs Help

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No, the famed physicist, who turns 70 on Sunday, isn't looking to pick your brains about wormholes, dark energy or alternative universes. He, like many of us these days, needs tech support.

Confined to a wheelchair and dependent on a voice synthesizer to talk, Hawking relies more than most on technology to live and work. The British cosmologist and author is nearly paralyzed by the incurable motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He lost his voice in 1985 after an emergency tracheotomy.

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Hawking plans to hire an assistant to help develop and maintain the electronic speech system that allows him to communicate his vision of the universe, according to an Associated Press report.

An informal job ad posted on Hawking's website said the assistant should be computer literate, ready to travel, and able to repair electronic devices "with no instruction manual or technical support," AP reports.

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The ad has since been removed from Hawking's website and replaced with a note stating that the “post of Technical Assistant to Stephen Hawking will be advertised officially in due course” on the University of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics website.

The informal ad said the job pays about $38,500 a year, AP reports. 

Image: Stephen Hawking aboard a Zero Gravity Corp. parabolic flight in Florida in 2007. (Credit: Zero Gravity Corp).