Public Lecture

Probing the Warped Side of the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes

Kip Thorne
Tuesday 5 July 2011 6.30–7.30pm

Manning Clark Centre Theatre 1, Union Court, ANU

Professor Kip Thorne
Caltech

There is a Warped Side to our Universe: objects and phenomena made largely or entirely from warped space and warped time rather than from matter. Examples are the Big Bang, in which our Universe was born and Black Holes, from which nothing can ever escape. The ideal way to probe this Warped Side is with Gravitational Waves: ripples in the fabric of space-time.

The Warped Side will be studied in detail by an International Network of Advanced Gravitational Wave Interferometers that is now under construction. These gravitational observations, which may radically change our understanding of the universe, would be greatly strengthened by adding to the Network an Interferometer in the Southern Hemisphere, ideally in Australia.


Kip Thorne is The Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology. He has been an intellectual leader in theoretical physics and in gravitational-wave science for a half century.
His research has ranged from the esoteric (the theory of black holes, wormholes and time travel) to the practical (technology to underpin gravitational-wave detectors).

Thorne is famous for his skill in communicating science to non scientists. His book Black Holes and Time Warps, Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy received prestigious awards in the USA and in Russia. He is the Executive Producer and co-author of the forthcoming science fiction movie Interstellar, which is set on the Warped Side of the Universe.

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