Kip Thorne Biography


Birthday: June 1, 1940 (Gemini)

Born In: Logan

Kip Stephen Thorne is a renowned theoretical physicist who is considered among the leading experts on the subjects of gravitational physics and astrophysics. Born to academician parents, this erudite physicist showed great aptitude for science since his childhood. Pursuing his graduate studies from the Caltech University, Kip went on to earn a doctorate from the Princeton where he his supervisor was John Wheeler. Stephen then embarked on an academic career at Caltech where he collaborated with some of the leading scientists in the field of astrophysics. With sterling academics, he became the youngest professor ever to be appointed at the Caltech University. Throughout his career he proved to be an excellent guide and mentor to students who turned out to be pioneers in the discipline of astrophysics. He worked along with Ulvi Yurtsever and Mike Morris to demonstrate the existence of Lorentzian wormholes that connect two separate points in space time, paving the path for further research into the possibility that negative energy could be a characteristic of quantum fields. He also dabbled with the red supergiant stars and along with fellow collaborator Anna Zytkow and also prophesised a possibility of their existence. Thorne is currently involved with research on quantum foam concept propounded by his mentor John Wheeler. Read on to know more about his life and works.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Kip Stephen Thorne

Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Males


father: D. Wynne Thorne

mother: Alison Thorne

Physicists American Men

Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Males

More Facts

education: 1962 - California Institute of Technology, 1965 - Princeton University

awards: 2009 - Albert Einstein Medal
1967 - Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences
US & Canada

Childhood & Early Life
Kip Thorne was born on June1, 1940 in Logan City of Cache County, Utah to D. Wynne Thorne and Alison Thorne. Both his parents were professors at the ‘Utah State University’; his father taught soil chemistry while his mother taught economics.
Thorne showed a remarkable interest and ability in science from an early age. When he was barely eight years old, he was successful in helping his mother build a model of the solar system.
Kip went to the famous ‘Caltech Institute of Technology’ for higher studies and in the year 1962 he was awarded the Bachelor in Science degree. Throughout his time at Caltech, he showed a remarkable ability for original thought and a thirst for knowledge.
In the year 1965, he was awarded his Ph.D. by ‘Princeton University’ after he submitted a paper on ‘Geometrodynamics of Cylindrical Systems’. His supervisor during his time at Princeton was the famous revivalist John Wheeler.
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In the year 1967, Kip Thorne was appointed as an assistant professor at the ‘Caltech Institute of Technology’. During this time he further worked on his theories on astrophysics with some of the leading minds in the scientific fraternity.
After spending three years in Caltech as an assistant professor; he was made a professor in theoretical physics in 1970 and eleven years later he was promoted to the august post of ‘William R. Kenan Jr. Professor’.
In the year 1984, Kip embarked on one of his most ambitious and important projects when he started the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory), which was engaged in proving the presence of gravitational waves.
He has also been one of the leading lights in the world of Black Hole Cosmology and his biggest contribution to the study of black holes has been the Hoop Conjecture; it explains how an imploding star can turn into a black hole under certain specific conditions.
Thorne’s most ambitious and famous project so far has been the one in relation to wormholes and time travel. He worked in collaboration with some of the leading minds on astrophysics like Sung-Won Kim, Mike Morris and Ulvi Yurtsever. The theories that he came up with proved that time travel, at least in theory, is a possibility.
Thorne remains among the leading astrophysicists of the modern era and in recognition of his efforts throughout his academic life, the Caltech Institute of Technology appointed him as the ‘Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics’ in 1991.
In the year 2009, he decided to resign from his post at Caltech in order to collaborate with film makers who were looking for his expertise and has been a Professor Emeritus since. Quite famously he worked with Christopher Nolan in the movie Interstellar.
Major Works
Kip Thorne’s studies on wormholes remains his most famous work till date due to the kind of possibilities that it has opened up including something as seemingly fantastic as time travel. He strived to establish the scientific proof for time travel and the existence of wormholes through experimentation, in the process developing the theory of Lorentzian wormholes.
Awards & Achievements
Kip Thorne won the ‘Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize’ in the year 1996. The prize is awarded by the ‘American Physical Society’ to the scientists who have made outstanding contributions to physics.
In the year 2009, he was awarded the ‘Einstein Medal’ that is presented by the ‘Albert Einstein Society’ located in Bern. The award is presented to scientists who have come up with ‘scientific findings, works or publications related to Albert Einstein’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Kip has been married twice. He got married for the first time to Linda Jean Peterson in 1960; the couple had two children.
Thorne divorced his first wife in the year 1977 and seven years later he got married for the second time to Carolee Joyce Winstein, who is a professor at the ‘University of South Carolina’.

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