Talk #54, 4/7/10

The Warped Side of the Universe:
From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Gravitational Waves

Kip Thorne

Our Universe has a “warped side”: objects and phenomena that are made not from matter, but rather from warped space and warped time. Examples include black holes, cosmic strings (the fundamental strings, from which all matter may be made, inflated to cosmic size), and the big-bang singularity from which the Universe was born. Thorne describes this mysterious warped side and two quests: (1) The quest to simulate it using supercomputers, which is now bearing fruit and has brought us surprises. (2) The quest to observe it using gravitational waves (ripples of warping in the fabric of spacetime); this quest is now underway using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), which Thorne co-founded in the early 1980s.


The following is a link to the presentation (pdf format).