Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus
Kip Thorne is an expert in gravitation physics and astrophysics, with emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes and gravitational waves.
Areas of Expertise:
Kip Thorne's current passion is to develop an understanding of how space and time behave when they are strongly and dynamically warped. In technical language, he seeks to understand the "nonlinear dynamics of warped spacetime." An ideal venue for studying this is the inspiral, collision and merger of two spinning black holes. The spin of each hole drags space into motion around itself like the air in a tornado. As the holes near each other and collide, they drag each other into motion like two colliding tornados, and they excite wild oscillations of the rate of flow of time and the geometry of space. Thorne and members of his group are probing these phenomena via numerical solutions of Einstein's general relativity equations; and in the near future, LIGO (the Caltech/MIT Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) will probe them observationally, via the gravitational waves produced as the holes collide and merge.