Although he lived much of his life without a real voice it’s amazing Stephen Hawking’s computer synthesised tones are today renowned the world over. According to the biopic, “The Theory of Everything,” had he had the lifesaving tracheotomy which destroyed his vocal chords just 6 months later he might have had a synthesiser with an English voice. As it was at the time only an American accent was available, but such was Hawking’s influence and the power of his brand he was soon stuck with it.
His “voice” has featured in popular TV shows including Little Britain and The Simpsons. In those cases, he was scripted by the programme makers. However his day to day and conference communications had to be put together painstakingly, letter by letter. The rest of us can learn from this. Because every letter counted the professor’s communications were noted for their conciseness. No wasted words and he clearly thought through what he wanted to say and then used his mechanical voice to say what he meant, and he clearly meant what he said. Perhaps that’s something we all should do more of. One thing is certain, like Churchill, we shall not hear his like again.