The Simons Center will host a lecture series by Kip Thorne, winner of the 2017 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.”
Kip Thorne is an American theoretical physicist known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He is the Feyman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology and continues to do scientific research and scientific consulting, most notably for the Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar.
General Public Lecture
Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes
Thursday, April 19
Reception: 5 pm
Lecture: 5:30 pm, Simons Center Della Pietra Family 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. LIGO physicists and engineers initiated gravitational astronomy in 2015 by observing gravitational waves from colliding black holes a billion light years from Earth. By the 2030s, physicists and astronomers will have opened four gravitational “windows” onto the universe, each covering a different frequency band and using a different type of gravitational-wave detector; and they will be using gravitational waves to observe the big-bang birth of our Universe and the first one second of our Universe’s life.
Technical Talk for Faculty and Advanced Graduate Students
Geometrodynamics: The Nonlinear Dynamics of Curved Spacetime
Friday, April 20, 11 am, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium
A half century ago, John Wheeler challenged his students and colleagues to explore Geometrodynamics: How does the curvature of spacetime behave when roiled in a storm, like a storm at sea with crashing waves? Success eluded us until two new tools became available: computer simulations and gravitational wave observations. Thorne will describe what these have begun to teach, and he will offer a vision for the future of Geometrodynamics.
For more information about these lectures, call (631) 632-2800.