Google’s Stephen Hawking Doodle includes narration in the physicist’s voice


This weekend, Google will release a Doodle celebrating what would have been Stephen Hawking’s 80th birthday. The two and a half minute-long video will go live in the US at midnight ET tonight (9pm PT) and includes a narration in the physicist’s own computer-generated voice (created and used with permission from his estate) outlining his work and painting a message of hope for the future.

Hawking’s digital voice was one of the most recognizable characteristics of the late physicist, who used it to speak after losing his voice due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although more advanced artificial voices were developed over the course of his lifetime, the physicist continued to use the original voice with its American accent after having grown attached to it through years of use.

The scientist’s children welcomed Google’s Doodle. “He would have found it important to show that he never allowed the challenges of his physical condition to limit his power of expression nor his determination to make an impact on the world in which he lived,” Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert, and Tim Hawking said in a statement. “We hope that his example offers inspiration and hope globally to all who face great challenges at this difficult time.”

Stephen Hawking passed away in 2018, at the age of 76, after living with ALS for over half a century. The Doodle was illustrated by Google art director Matthew Cruickshank.

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