Saturday, June 22, 2013

They're Going to Make a Big Star Out of Him

Lumo reports that Kip Thorne is going to be in a movie. It seems pretty big time, with Christopher (Dark Knight Trilogy) Nolan directing, and Matthew McConaughey, Ann Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine in the cast, along with Thorne, who wrote the script and will play himself.

Thorne, for non-physics geeks, is a co-author of the "black hole," the monumental treatise on Gravitation, AKA MTW, and a big name in black hole physics, as well as the Feynman professor of physics at Caltech. He has also written what I consider the best popular book on General Relativity, Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy

A friend of mine who was a classmate of Thorne's at Caltech once told me that Thorne the student achieved a certain amount of notoriety by stumping Feynman with a question in class. Feynman later paid him back by reducing him to tears when he presented a colloquium. He also said that student Thorne had noted that his IQ was "only" 140 but he was well organized.

My favorite Thorne story from Black Holes and Time Warps concerns how he deduced the secret of the hydrogen bomb from astrophysical conversations with Novikov and Colgate (astrophysicists and bomb designers, both, respectively for the USSR and the US.