Kip S. Thorne

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Personal Data    Born June 1, 1940, Logan, Utah, USA, son of Professors D. Wynne Thorne and Alison C. Thorne
Married Linda Jean Peterson, September 12, 1960; divorced July 1977
Children Kares Anne, Bret Carter
Married Carolee Joyce Winstein, July 7, 1984


Present Position    The Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus California Institute of Technology 2009 - present


Previous Positions    Postdoctoral Fellow in Physics Princeton University 1965 - 1966
  Research Fellow in Physics California Institute of Technology 1966 - 1967
  Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics California Institute of Technology 1967 - 1970
  Professor of Theoretical Physics California Institute of Technology 1970 - 1991
  The William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor California Institute of Technology 1981 - 1991
  The Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics California Institute of Technology 1991 - 2009
  Adjunct Professor of Physics University of Utah 1971 - 1998
  Andrew D. White Professor at Large Cornell University 1986 - 1992


Research Interests    Theoretical physics, gravitational physics, astrophysics


Education    B.S. (Physics) California Institute of Technology 1962
  A.M. (Physics) Princeton University 1963
  Ph.D. (Physics) Princeton University 1965
  precollege education: Logan, Utah


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Elected Memberships
  • National Academy of Sciences, 1973
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 1972
  • Russian Academy of Sciences, Foreign Member, 1999
  • American Philosophical Society, 1999
  • American Physical Society, Fellow, ca. 1971
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 1976
  • International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation, Fellow, 2016



Member
  • International Committee on General Relativity and Gravitation, 1971 - 80, 1992 -
  • Committee on US-USSR Cooperation in Physics, 1978 - 79
  • Space Science Board, 1980 - 83
  • Advisory Board, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara,1978 - 80
  • Fachbeirat (Advisory Board), Albert Einstein Institute, Germany, 1997 - 2005
  • Chairman of Steering Committee, Caltech/MIT Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO Project), 1984 - 1987
  • Society for Amateur Scientists, Advisory Board, 1994 -
  • American Astronomical Society
  • Governing Committee, Division of High Energy Astrophysics, American Astronomical Society, 1970 - 1972
  • Chair, Faculty Search Committee for the President of Caltech, 1996 - 97
  • Chair, Topical Group in Gravity, American Physical Society, 1997 - 98
  • International Astronomical Union
  • Editorial Advisory Board of Astrophysical Letters, 1968 - 1974
  • Board of Editors of Journal of Mathematical Physics, 1969 - 71
  • Board of Correspondents of Comments on Astrophysics and Space Physics, 1969 - 1970
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Sigma Xi
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Center for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge
  • Board of Directors, The Stephen Hawking Foundation



Honorary Degrees
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, Illinois College, 1979
  • Doctoris Honoris Causa, Moscow University, 1981
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, Utah State University, 2000
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Glasgow, 2001
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Claremont Graduate University, 2002
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Chicago, 2008



Science Awards
  • Richtmeyer Memorial Award, American Association of Physics Teachers, 1992
  • Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize, American Physical Society, 1996
  • Karl Schwarzschild Medal, Astronomische Gesellschaft (Astronomical Society of Germany), 1996
  • Robinson Prize in Cosmology, University of Newcastle, 2002
  • California Scientist of the Year, 2004
  • Common Wealth Award in Science, 2005
  • Albert Einstein Medal, Albert Einstein Society, Berne, Switzerland, 2009
  • UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal, 2010
  • Howard Vollum Award for Science and Technology, Reed College, 2013
  • Included in Time Magazine's 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the
    world
  • Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, 2016
      shared with Rainer Weiss, Roald Drever, and 1012 other contributors to the discovery of gravitational waves
  • Gruber Cosmology Prize, 2016
      shared with Rainer Weiss, Ronald Drever, and the LIGO team
  • Kavli Prize in Astrophysics, 2016
      shared with Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever
  • Shaw Prize in Astronomy, 2016
      shared with Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever



Film Awards
  • Kip Thorne Gravity Award for the Best Depiction of a Scientific Principle in a Feature film, RAW Science Film Festival, for gravity in Interstellar, 2014
  • Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media, National Space Society, for translating black hole and wormhole physics into accurate visual effects for Interstellar, 2015



Science Writing Awards
  • American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy, 1969 and 1994
  • Priroda (USSR) Readers' Choice Award for 1989 and 1990
  • Phi Beta Kappa Science Writing Award, 1994



Teaching & Mentoring Awards
  • Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (undergraduates): 24th Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1999-2000
  • California Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council: Mentoring Award, 2004
  • American Association of Physics Teachers: J.D. Jackson Excellence in Graduate Education Award, 2012

 

 

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Scholarships, Fellowships,
Temporary Appointments
  • General Motors National Scholar, 1958 - 1962
  • Honorary National Merit Scholar, 1958 - 1962
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1962 - 1963
  • Danforth Foundation Fellow, 1962 - 1965
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, 1964 - 1965
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1965 - 1966
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow in Physics, 1966 - 1968
  • Fulbright Lecturer in France, 1966
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, June 1967 - January 1968
  • Visiting Associate Professor of Physics, University of Chicago, January - June 1968
  • Visiting Professor, Moscow University (USSR), August and September 1969, September 1975, March 1978,
    September 1981, December 1982, April 1986, August and September 1988, June 1990, April 1998
  • Visiting Lecturer for the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, September 1971 and September 1973
  • Visiting Senior Research Associate, Cornell University, January - June 1977
  • Member, Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCSB, 1981 - 1982 and Spring 1993
  • Visiting Scientist, Max-Planck-Institut für GravitationsPhysik (Germany), April - June 1998
  • Lorentz Professor, University of Leiden (Netherlands), June and September-October 2009
  • Visiting Scientist, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, Stellenbosch, South Africa, November 2010



Lectureship Awards and Endowed Lectureships
  • John Danz Lecturer, University of Washington, 1981
  • Silliman Lecturer, Yale University, 1984
  • Carl Herzfeld Lecturer, Catholic University, 1985
  • Hans Bethe Lecturer, Cornell University, 1986
  • Sigma Xi Centennial Lecturer, 1986
  • Bart Bok Memorial Lecturer, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1987
  • Newton Tercentenary Lecturer, University of Alberta, 1987
  • Patton L. Seifert Memorial Lecturer, Montana State University, 1989
  • Gardiner Memorial Lecturer, New Mexico State University, 1989
  • Yunker Memorial Lecturer, Oregon State University, 1989
  • Hauser Memorial Lecturer, California Polytechnic University, 1990
  • Leon Pape Memorial Lecturer, California State University at Los Angeles, 1994
  • O.C. Tanner Lecturer in the Humanities, Utah State University, 1994
  • Alphaeus W. Smith Lecturer, Ohio State University, 1995, 2015
  • P.A.M. Dirac Memorial Lecturer, University of Cambridge, 1995
  • Max Goodrich Memorial Lecturer, Louisiana State University, 1996
  • First Leibniz-Kolleg Lecturer, Potsdam, Germany, 1998
  • Konopinski Memorial Lecturer, Indiana University, 1998
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecturer, University of California at Berkeley, 1999
  • George Darwin Lecturer, Royal Astronomical Society, 2000 
  • Arthur Holly Compton Memorial Lecturer, Washington University, 2001
  • Inaugural Herzberg Memorial Lecturer, Canadian Association of Physicists, 2001
  • Elston Memorial Lecture, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 2002
  • Kibbe Lecture, Bowdoin College, 2002
  • Resnick Lecture, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 2005
  • Presidential Lecture, University of Tulsa, 2007
  • Ford Lecture, University of Michigan, 2007
  • Sacker Lecture, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 2008
  • Chesley Lecture, Carleton College, 2008
  • 125 Anniversary Lecture, Cardiff University, 2009
  • Brinson Lecture, University of Chicago, 2009
  • Scott Lectures, Cavendish Laboratories, University of Cambridge, 2010
  • Dennis Sciama Memorial Lectures, University of Oxford and International School for Advanced Studies (Trieste), May 2011
  • Wolfgang Pauli Lectures, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, May 2011
  • S. Chandrasekhar Memorial Lecture, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, India, December 2011
  • S.N. Bose Jubilee Lecture, S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Science, Kolkata, India, 2011
  • Mauer Distinguished Lecture, University of Arkansas, 2012
  • David L. Anderson Lecturer, Oberlin College, 2015
  • Einstein Lecture Dahlem, Freie Universität, Berlin 2015



Summer-School Lectureships
  • Enrico Fermi School of Physics (Varenna, Italy), 1965 and 1968
  • Ecole d'Été de Physique Theorique (Les Houches, France), 1966, 1972, and 1982
  • University of Toronto, 1969
  • University of New York at Stony Brook, 1969
  • Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, England, 1973
  • Ettore Majorana School of Physics (Erice, Italy), 1975
  • Battelle Workshop on Sources of Gravitational Radiation (Seattle), 1978
  • NATO Advanced Study Institute on Quantum Optics, Experimental Gravitation, and Measurement Theory (Baad Windsheim, Germany), 1981
  • NATO Advanced Study Institute on Gravitational Radiation (Les Houches, France), 1982
  • Winter School on Nonlinear Phenomena (ELAF-84, Santiago, Chile), 1984
  • NATO Advanced Study Institute on Gravitation in Astrophysics (Cargese, Corsica), 1986
  • SLAC Summer Institute on Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology (Stanford, California), 1994



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For the list of Ph.D.'s awarded by Caltech with Kip Thorne as the Thesis Advisor, please click here






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Questions or comments? Please contact joann[at]caltech.edu
Last modified on 2-13-15