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2nd Kaczmarczik Lecture

"Gravitational Waves: A New Window Onto the Universe"

Kip S. Thorne
California Institute of Technology

Wednesday, October 30, 1996

4:00 p.m.
Patton Auditorium
32nd and Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The LIGO/VIRGO international network of earth-based gravitational wave detectors is now under construction and will operate in the 10-1000 Hz band beginning in 2000. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has tentatively been selected as a Cornerstone Mission by the European Space Agency, to fly around 2015, operating in the 0.01 – 0.0001 Hz band. Thorne will describe these instruments and the science they expect to do: observational studies of black holes, neutron stars, and supernova cores, and searches for exotic new types of relativistic objects and gravitational waves from the very early universe.

Kip S. Thorne is The Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He received his BS degree from California Institute of Technology in 1962 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1965.

Thorne’s research has focused on gravitation physics and astrophysics, with emphasis on black holes and gravitational waves. In the late 1960’s and early 70’s he laid the foundations for the theory of pulsations of relativistic stars and the gravitational waves they emit. During the 70’s and 80s, he developed much of the mathematical formalism by which astrophysicists analyze the generation of gravitational waves and worked closely with experimenters on developing new technical ideas and plans for gravitational wave detection He is a co-founder (with R. Weiss and R.W.P. Drever) of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) project. Since the mid 1980’s he and his research group have provided theoretical support for it.

Thorne was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1973. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Moscow State University (USSR) in 1981 and has won the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (1996), the Karl Schwarzschild Medal of the German Astronomical Society (1996), the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy (twice: 1969 and 1995) and the Phi Beta Kappa Science Writing Award (1994). He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Danforth Foundation Fellow, a Fulbright Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow. He has served on the International Committee on General Relativity and Gravitation, the Committee on US-USSR Cooperation in Physics and the National Academy of Science’s Space Science Board, which advised NASA and Congress on space science policy.

About the Kaczmarczik Lecture

Paul Kaczmarczik began his career as a Professor of Physics at Drexel University in 1953. A key player in building the Physics and Atmospheric Science Department, he made important contributions to teaching at Drexel University during his many years of service. Well-liked by both his colleagues and his students, Professor Kaczmarczik became Professor Emeritus in 1989. The Kaczmarczik Lecture Series was established in 1995 in honor of Professor Kaczmarczik. It brings to Drexel outstanding scientists to present lectures on topics at the cutting edge of Physics research.