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College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The UMD Department of Physics cordially invites you to a

Special Public Lecture on Gravitational Physics


Kip Thorne wearing a leather biker jacket and jeans, against a black background. Credit: Christopher Michel.

Kip S. THorne
Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus California Institute of Technology


Our Romance with the Warped Side of the Universe:

From Black Holes, Wormholes and the Big Bang, to Time Travel and Gravitational Waves

Friday, November 10, 2023
4:15 p.m.
John S. Toll Physics Building, Room 1412

Parking is available in the Regents Drive Garage. Enter via Stadium Drive. Additionally, the free #104 ShuttleUM bus runs between the College Park Metro Station and Regents Drive at about 12-minute intervals.

Professor Thorne is delivering this public lecture on the eve of the Charles W. Misner Memorial Symposium on Gravitation and the Cosmos (Register to attend the scientific symposium on Saturday.)

Dr. Misner was a world-renowned physicist and educator who served on the faculty in UMD’s Department of Physics from 1963 until his retirement in 2000. He made fundamental contributions to the understanding of gravitation and cosmology, and with coworkers was the recipient of the Heineman Prize and the Albert Einstein Medal. He co-authored the monograph Gravitation in 1973 together with Kip Thorne and John Wheeler, a book that had a great impact on the teaching of general relativity and on the public at large.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, when Charlie Misner and I embarked on our careers as physicists, there were hints that our universe might have a Warped Side: objects and phenomena such as black holes that are made from warped space and time instead of matter. Throughout our long careers, we and our contemporaries have struggled to convert those hints into clear understanding. We have explored the Warped Side through theory (using mathematics and computer simulations to probe what the laws of physics predict) and through astronomical observations (primarily with gravitational waves). In this lecture, I will recount the history of those explorations, describe what we now know about the Warped Side and speculate about the future.

About the Speaker
Kip S. Thorne is internationally known for his many contributions to gravitational physics and astrophysics, with emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes and gravitational waves, as well as for several technical and popular books he has authored including, among others, Gravitation (with John A. Wheeler and Charles W. Misner), Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, and The Science of Interstellar. He co-developed the concept for what became the movie Interstellar and served as executive producer and science advisor for the movie. For his contributions to LIGO's discovery of gravitational waves, Thorne (along with others) has been awarded some 10 prizes, ranging from the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to the Nobel Prize in Physics, and he is the recipient of a large number of other prizes and awards recognizing his scientific work, teaching and writings.

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