Kip Thorne

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Kip S. Thorne (2007)

Kip Stephen Thorne (born June 1, 1940 in Logan , Utah , USA ) is an American scientist of theoretical physics .

Thorne is a student of John Archibald Wheeler and is known for his extensive work on gravity and relativistic astrophysics . Until 2009 he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

In 2017, together with Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves .

life and work

Thorne's research deals with the foundations and astrophysical applications of general relativity . The ring criterion , which is used to decide whether a compact body forms a black hole , goes back to him . Thorne played a key role in setting up the LIGO project, in the course of which gravitational waves could be detected, and is still an active participant in the LIGO research. He is the co-author of a famous standard work on general relativity, Gravitation .

Kip Thorne became a broader public through his popular scientific work “Bent space and bent time. Einstein's Legacy "known (in the English original: Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy ). In his controversial theory, Thorne examined, among other things, the possibility of time travel with the help of wormholes . He also advised Christopher Nolan as an expert on his film Interstellar and also acted as executive producer.

A bet was made that Thorne and John Preskill made with Stephen Hawking in 1991 (and renewed in 1997) and which concerns the question of the existence of naked singularities in general relativity. Like Roger Penrose, Hawking was a proponent of the cosmic censorship hypothesis, which denied this, while Thorne, on the other hand, had already investigated model systems with non-spherical collapse in the early 1970s and, with Preskill, took the view that naked singularities are possible. Another bet concerned the information paradox of black holes , in which he was initially on the same side as Hawking, assuming that information is also lost in the quantum version of gravity in black holes (Preskill bet against it and assumed that there was one in quantum gravity Way to get the information).

The Thorne-Żytkow object was named after him.

In 1966 he received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ( Sloan Research Fellow ). In 1972 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , 1973 a member of the National Academy of Sciences and 1999 a member of the American Philosophical Society . The Russian Academy of Sciences it belongs since 1999 as a foreign member.

Since 2016 Thomson Reuters has counted him among the favorites for a Nobel Prize ( Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates ) due to the number of his citations , which he then received in 2017.

From left: Yuval Neeman , Bryce S. DeWitt , Kip Thorne, Les Houches Summer School 1972



  • Charles W. Misner , Kip S. Thorne, John A. Wheeler : Gravitation . Freeman, New York / San Francisco 1973, ISBN 0-7167-0334-3 .
  • Kip S. Thorne: Curved Space and Warped Time. Einstein's legacy . 4th edition. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-426-26718-7 .
    • Kip S. Thorne: Black holes and time warps. Einstein's outrageous legacy . WW Norton, New York 1994, ISBN 0-393-31276-3 (English, original).
  • Kip S. Thorne: Gravitational Radiation . In: Stephen Hawking, Werner Israel (Ed.): Three Hundred Years of Gravitation . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1987, ISBN 978-0-521-37976-2 , pp. 330-458 .
  • KS Thorne, RH Price, DM Macdonald: Black Holes: The Membrane Paradigm . Yale University Press, New Haven 1986, ISBN 978-0-300-03769-2 .
  • Kip S. Thorne: The Science of Interstellar . Norton & Company, New York 2014, ISBN 978-0-393-35137-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017. In: Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, accessed on January 16, 2018 .
  2. ^ Foreign members of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1724 - Kip Thorne. Russian Academy of Sciences, accessed October 27, 2015 (Russian).
  3. Web of Science Predicts 2016 Nobel Prize Winners. In: September 21, 2016, archived from the original on September 21, 2016 ; accessed on September 21, 2016 (English).
  4. Einsteinhaus Bern: Einstein medal. In: Einsteinhaus Bern, accessed on January 16, 2018 .
  5. ^ Special Breakthrough Prize In Fundamental Physics Awarded For Detection Of Gravitational Waves 100 Years After Albert Einstein Predicted Their Existence. In: Retrieved January 16, 2018 .
  6. 2016 Gruber Cosmology Prize. In:, accessed January 16, 2018 .