Was ‘disappointed’ with Nobel committee, says Kip Thorne

Nobel prize winner for physics, Kip Thorne was “disappointed” with the Nobel Prize committee when they informed him about the honour last year. 

Published: 12th January 2018 03:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2018 07:15 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Nobel prize winner for physics, Kip Thorne was “disappointed” with the Nobel Prize committee when they informed him about the honour last year.  The reason for this, he says, was the fact that the prize was not awarded to the entire team of numerous scientists from across the world.
Thorne was one of the three scientists who shared the prize along with fellow American physicists Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish.

Speaking to TNIE after a public lecture at the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences here, he said, “I got a call from a member of the Nobel Prize Committee at 2.15 am and they said ‘it will not surprise you that you are winning the Nobel’. I said it does not surprise me at all but it disappoints me that this prize is not going to the team that made the discovery, but is being awarded to me.”   

He further told the Nobel Prize Committee member, “I would have thought that you would have learnt by now with your experience from the Higgs Boson prize (2013). You did the same thing by not giving the prize to the team.”

The committee member tried to pacify Thorne by claiming to be discussing the issue and told him that they will do it when he comes to Stockholm during the award ceremony.
“I feel very strongly that this is not my money,” Throne added.

Second movie in the pipeline  

After the success and critical acclaim of the movie Interstellar, in which Thorne was the scientific consultant, he says he is working on a second movie that will involve “some different physics.” He added, “I may write a book connected to it (the second movie).” Thorne wrote a book called the ‘Science of Interstellar’ soon after the movie was released that was also well received.

Thorne also says a Hollywood blockbuster like Interstellar can inspire people about science, although one cannot do much in terms of educating people about science through such movies. “The fact that Interstellar is perhaps the most scientifically accurate sci-fi movie is well known. This is part of the reason it inspires and I think that is very valuable. I have had a large number of young people say that the movie got them interested in science. This is one of the main reasons why I took it up.”   

Book on gravitational waves

Thorne also said that he might even write a book on the quest to discover gravitational waves based on his own experiences. “There have been other books on the subject but those are written by people who are nowhere as close to the project as I am. There were a number of interesting physics challenges in the gravitational wave project that will be my focus, if I write the book,” he says.


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