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Nobel Prize recipient Kip S. Thorne (middle), Professors of Physics Keith Riles (left) and Gregory Tarlé (right) at the Special Collections Library in Hatcher Graduate Library. Professor Kip Thorne is holding the original document where Galileo recorded his first observations of the moons of Jupiter with his new telescope. (Photo Credit: Pablo Alvarez (Outreach Librarian and Curator, Special Collections Library at UM)
On October 3, 2017, Kip S. Thorne, along with two colleagues, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and his contribution to the first discovery of gravitational waves. Their groundbreaking observation of gravitational waves in 2015 confirmed predictions made by Albert Einstein over a century ago.
Thorne gave the prestigious Ta-You Wu Distinguished Lecture in Physics at the University of Michigan Physics Department on September 13, this year. Click here to view his lecture.
Thorne is a collaborator with LSA Physics Professor Keith Riles, leader of the Michigan Gravitational Wave Group at LIGO. In addition, Thorne served as a professor and mentor to another LSA physics faculty member, Gregory Tarlé.
In the photograph above, taken during his visit, Professor Thorne is holding the original document where Galileo recorded his first observations of the moons of Jupiter with his new telescope. Galileo was the first to use a telescope to look up at the sky, marking the birth of optical astronomy. He recorded his observations in the book Sidereus Nuncius “Starry Messenger” in which he published his findings on the moons of Jupiter (showing that everything doesn’t revolve around the Earth), that the Milky Way was made of stars, craters on the moon (previously it was thought that celestial objects are perfect spheres), and the phases of Venus (indicating that it too orbited the sun). In the photo, Professor Tarlé is holding a first addition of Sidereus Nuncius.
This week, Thorne won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering gravitational waves from merging black holes and for opening up a second (non-electromagnetic) observational window on the universe (gravitational wave astronomy).