Kip Stephen Thorne is known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. A longtime friend and colleague of late Stephen Hawking and late Carl Sagan. He was the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) until 2009 and is one of the world's leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity. He continues to do scientific research and scientific consulting, most notably for the Christopher Nolan film Interstellar.
In 2017, Thorne was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves".
Thorne is known for his ability to convey the excitement and significance of discoveries in gravitation and astrophysics to both professional and lay audiences. In 1999, Thorne made some speculations on what the 21st century will find as the answers to the following questions:
- Is there a "dark side of the universe" populated by objects such as black holes?
- Can we observe the birth of the universe and its dark side using radiation made from space-time warpage, or so-called "gravitational waves"?
- Will 21st century technology reveal quantum behavior in the realm of human-size objects?
His presentations on subjects such as black holes, gravitational radiation, relativity, time travel, and wormholes have been included in PBS shows in the U.S. and on the BBC in the United Kingdom.