Donald R. Hamilton Lecture: Kip Thorne, Caltech, “Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Colliding Stars”

Kip Thorne
Feynman Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Caltech
Joint Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics*

The 2017 Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to Caltech's Barry C. Barish, the Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor of Physics, Emeritus and MIT's Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus. Article (link is external).

“Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves:  From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Colliding Stars”

43rd annual Donald R. Hamilton Lecture 
8 p.m. , Thursday, April 12, 2018
Location: McDonnell Hall, A-02 auditorium

There are only two types of waves that can propagate across the universe: Electromagnetic waves and gravitational waves.  Galileo initiated electromagnetic astronomy 400 years ago, by pointing a telescope at the sky and discovering the moons of Jupiter.  The ~1000 physicists and engineers of the LIGO/VIRGO collaboration have recently initiated gravitational astronomy, by observing gravitational waves from black holes that collided 1.3 billion years ago.  This discovery has roots at Princeton University, in the 1960s research groups of Robert Dicke and John Wheeler.  By the 2030s, physicists and astronomers will have opened four gravitational “windows” onto the universe — the gravitational analogs of optical astronomy, radio astronomy, X-ray astronomy and gamma-ray astronomy — and will be using gravitational waves to observe the big-bang birth of the universe and the first one second of its life.