December 29, 2011
Physics Luminary Hawking Searching For An Assistant
One of the 21st century´s most brilliant public figures Stephen Hawking has recently placed an advertisement on his website for a personal assistant at a starting salary of around $40,000. The 69-year old professor at Cambridge University says he is not looking for a fellow physicist, just someone with technical savvy to help him with diverse tasks.
Professor Hawking, whose work in theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum gravity have established him as one of the century´s most influential scientific minds, suffers from a degenerative motor neuron disease that has left him almost entirely paralyzed and reliant on a variety of high-tech gadgets for speaking, writing and moving.
In addition to the renown he enjoys amongst his fellow scientists, Hawking has also become something of a public scientific icon in recent years, traveling the world to make public speeches and writing best-selling books for laymen that probe the nature of the universe.
Hawking says that the personal assistant position will include a broad spectrum of duties, including maintenance of his personal equipment, conversing with the media on his behalf, helping him prepare for public lectures and keeping up his personal website.
Moreover, the professor says he is looking for someone who works well under pressure and is able to maintain “black box” systems without instruction manuals or outside assistance.
The position includes a 12-month contract that is paid for by the university. In the past, however, Hawking´s assistants have been known to stay on for several years.
Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)--commonly known as Lou Gehrig´s disease--although some insist that he has a highly untypical form of the disease. Professor Hawking has the most protracted case of ALS ever recorded, having first experienced initial symptoms of the disease in the late 1960s.
Image Caption: U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Stephen Hawking in the Blue Room of the White House before a ceremony presenting him and fifteen others the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 12 August 2009. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honour.
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