"It doesn't get more physics-y than that"
April 12, 2017 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Famous still-living theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, though British, has been dealing not only with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease) for decades, but with an American accent as well - even after a system upgrade a couple of years ago. Now, however - perhaps nudged by the availability of voices recorded by celebrities for GPS systems - he's decided it's time for a change and is reviewing audition tapes from a few hopefuls.

Dr. Hawking previously and previously-er (links broken).
posted by Greg_Ace (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's gotta be either Sir Patrick Stewart, or Sir Ian McKellan.

(Although James Earl Jones would also be awesome.)
posted by dfm500 at 11:10 PM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


I hope he picks Pauly Shore.

He is established enough that people would have to take him seriously even with that voice. Bonus points if it randomly adds buuuuuddy to the end of sentences.
posted by bh at 11:16 PM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


There's a part of me that is hoping for either Benny Hill or Dick Emery.

It's... it's a pretty evil part of me.
posted by nfalkner at 11:28 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've always wanted him to have the voice of the computer from Wargames.
posted by biffa at 11:45 PM on April 12, 2017 [6 favorites]


Given he's the voice of authority in so many spheres, imagine the impact he could have by choosing to sound like a woman.
posted by AFII at 12:58 AM on April 13, 2017 [11 favorites]


Although really he has been pretty attached to his 30-year-old synthesized voice. I think in one of the recent upgrades they finally moved it to software synthesis, but up to pretty recently he was using a card built in the 80s. (Wired has a bit on it, if you skip to the last few paragraphs of this Intel puff piece.)
posted by ckape at 1:13 AM on April 13, 2017


He legally owns the rights to his original voice synthesizer, which is understandable, because it literally IS his voice. He is the only public figure whose voice can be exactly replicated so it was a smart move.
posted by BiggerJ at 1:26 AM on April 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


it was a smart move.

He's a pretty bright guy.
posted by mosk at 1:34 AM on April 13, 2017 [6 favorites]




I'm going to giggle at the bolded still-living for a day or so. Well played, MetaFilter. Well played.
posted by hippybear at 3:33 AM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, whatever happened to the voice they created for Roger Ebert (RIP) out of samples of his own voice? He seemed to be thrilled with it at first and then abandoned it again before he died?
posted by hippybear at 3:49 AM on April 13, 2017


The late Ken Campbell, almost certainly erroneously and for the lulz, used to say that Hawking had a secondary voice, a Southern belle called Sadie, that he used at parties. Consequently Campbell referred to the professor as Sadie Hawking.

Otherwise, I'd vote for Kenneth Williams.
posted by Grangousier at 4:31 AM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall reading that Stephen Hawking had made a conscious choice to keep the American voice, despite other options having become available, i.e. he might have been stuck with it originally, but I don't know that it's a thing to "deal with" now.

Don't mind me. I'm quite sensitive about how the "value" of accents/dialects are judged and the sentence probably read a bit differently than intended.
posted by hoyland at 4:38 AM on April 13, 2017


I am assuming several people are not watching the video before commenting, so stating for the record -

This was a comedy video recorded for the Red Nose Day charity. Stephen Hawking and a number of notables participated. Stephen Hawking is not really changing his voice.

Watch it anyway, it's funny.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:38 AM on April 13, 2017 [7 favorites]


I just hope the new voice is less racist.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:16 AM on April 13, 2017


Troy McClure would be fanatastic
posted by judson at 7:25 AM on April 13, 2017


I for one have had enough of celebrity physicists. Get back to work!
posted by thelonius at 7:30 AM on April 13, 2017


That Theory of Everything isn't going to unify itself, after all.
posted by thelonius at 7:31 AM on April 13, 2017


> He legally owns the rights to his original voice synthesizer

That can't be right, as it's the default "Perfect Paul" voice developed by the late Dennis Klatt at MIT, then DEC. Epson still make chips that run DECTalk, as used in this module.
posted by scruss at 7:59 AM on April 13, 2017



Remember me, Eddie?! When I killed your brother?

I talked just -- like -- THIS!
 
posted by Herodios at 8:05 AM on April 13, 2017


That can't be right, as it's the default "Perfect Paul" voice developed by the late Dennis Klatt at MIT, then DEC. Epson still make chips that run DECTalk, as used in this module.

There's a DECtalk emulation included in this commercially available voice synthesis VST/AU plugin for music production.

Perhaps a specific set of parameters is legally reserved for Hawking, and all commercially shipping DECtalk implementations will not let you use those unless you solder closed the “I'm Stephen Hawking” pin or something?
posted by acb at 8:11 AM on April 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


My favorite comment in the last video was the response to John Boyega's pitch that he's "been to space", which was an obviously unimpressed (despite the lack of available inflection) "Wowsers."
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:22 AM on April 13, 2017


I kept hoping for Brian Blessed. It would be so cool to have Blessed shout a physics lecture at me
posted by dustsquid at 9:42 AM on April 13, 2017 [2 favorites]


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