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  POSTED ON: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 10:43 AM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Naval Academy’s Physics Department invites the public to attend a lecture by Professor Kip Thorne, Wednesday, November 6 at 7 p.m. in Mahan Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Thorne will present, “Probing the Warped Side of the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” in which he will share some history of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), and delve into the work leading up to the first detection of gravitational waves. The lecture will take the audience along for the ride as he explores what man has learned so far from combined observations and computer simulations, and adds his vision for the future of gravitational wave astronomy. Thorne will tie developments in the field of gravitational wave astronomy to Albert Michelson’s pioneering work on optical interferometry, some of which happened right here at USNA.

Thorne was born in 1940 in Logan, Utah, and is currently the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He received a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1962 from Caltech and his doctorate from Princeton University in 1965, then returned to Caltech on the professorial faculty in 1967. Kip was cofounder (with Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever) of the Project. LIGO – in the hands of a younger generation of physicists – made the breakthrough discovery of gravitational waves arriving at Earth from the distant universe on September 14, 2015. For his contributions to LIGO and to gravitational wave research, Thorne shared (with Weiss and LIGO Director Barry Barish) the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and several other major awards.

The Michelson Lecture series is sponsored by the USNA Class of 1969 and commemorates the achievements of Albert A. Michelson - USNA graduate, instructor and the first American to receive a Nobel Prize (1907, in Physics). Since 1981, the Michelson Lecture series has brought eminent scientists to speak about their research to a mixed audience of midshipmen, faculty, and the Annapolis community.

Visitors may enter through Gate 3 (Maryland Avenue – recommended) or Gate 1 (at the intersection of King George Street and Randall Street) and will be required to show a government issued picture ID.  All bags are subject to search. Vehicles without a Department of Defense or USNA credentialed driver or passenger are not permitted to drive onto the academy grounds. Vehicles with special parking placards or license plates may enter through Gates 1 or 8.

For more information about the Naval Academy’s Mathematics and Science Department, visit  For more information about the Naval Academy, please visit: or our Facebook page. 



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