Kip Thorne explores the ‘warped side’ of the universe

Nobel laureate will deliver a free public talk Nov. 7

gravitational waves
On Nov. 7, Kip Thorne will deliver a free public lecture titled: "Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes." (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Nobel laureate Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology, will deliver a public talk at Washington University in St. Louis next week. Thorne’s work in theoretical physics examines gravitational waves, the Big Bang and what these phenomena tell us about the dynamics of the universe.

Thorne, the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, will give the 2019 Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture. Also a part of the Assembly Series, Thorne’s talk will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Whitaker Hall, Room 100. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. Overflow seating will be available in the atrium of Whitaker Hall. Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the East End garage.

Hosted by the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Thorne’s lecture, “Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe With Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” will describe the half-century quest to create gravitational-wave astronomy and what it has taught us so far about the “warped side” of the universe. Thorne also will describe his vision for the future of gravitational-wave astronomy.

In 2017, Thorne received the Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to the detection of gravitational waves and the establishment of gravitational-wave astronomy.

Ramanath Cowsik, the James S. McDonnell Professor of Space Sciences and director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, said Thorne “has a reputation for presenting his ideas in a way that is accessible to one and all.”

Four physics professors
Clockwise from top left: Cowsik, Alford, Ogliore and Ferrer

“His contributions to the detection of gravitational waves emitted when two large black holes coalesced in a distant galaxy helped validate Einstein’s century-old prediction that such events will generate ripples in space-time that propagate with the speed of light,” he said.

Cowsik and three other Arts & Sciences faculty members — Mark G. Alford, Francesc Ferrer and Ryan Ogliore — described the impact of Thorne’s work on science and the public imagination. Read more from them on the Arts & Sciences website.

Although there is no reception after the talk, those who wish to may leave books for Thorne to sign. Signed materials can be collected from Jan Foster the week of Nov. 11.

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