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Kip S. Thorne Wins 2013 Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology


Thorne will give a free public lecture, "The Warped Side of Our Universe: From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Gravitational Waves," on Tuesday, August 27 at 3 p.m. in the Reed College Vollum lecture hall.


Portland, Ore (August 26, 2013)--Kip S. Thorne is the 2013 recipient of Reed College's Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Thorne is the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at California Institute of Technology.

Thorne's research has focused on Einstein's general theory of relativity and on astrophysics, with an emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes, wormholes, the theory of time travel, and especially gravitational waves. His current research is on the nonlinear dynamics of curved space-time.

In 2009, Thorne became Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at Caltech to focus on research and creative endeavors. In addition to his scholarly work, Thorne is executive producer on a film by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar, which was adapted from Thorne’s original script treatment.

Thorne was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972, the National Academy of Sciences in 1973, American Philosophical Society in 1999, and was named California Scientist of the Year in 2004. He is internationally recognized for achievement in his field. His numerous honors include the Albert Einstein Medal of the Albert Einstein Society in Berne, Switzerland, and the Niels Bohr Gold Medal from United Nations Educational, Science, and Cultural Organization.

Thorne was awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, the Phi Beta Kappa Science Writing Award, and the Priroda Readers' Choice Award for his book for nonscientists, Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy.

Thorne will accept the Vollum Award at Reed College’s convocation ceremony on Wednesday, August 28. The qualities that distinguish awardees are hallmarks of Howard Vollum’s career — perseverance, a creative imagination, the ability to work with people and a fresh approach to problem solving. For his senior thesis project, Vollum built an oscilloscope; he later went on to co-found Tektronix, which revolutionized oscilloscope design and became a world leader in test, measurement, and monitoring technology. Vollum graduated from Reed in 1936 and remained involved with the college throughout his life.