Kip Thorne led a Caltech research group in relativistic astrophysics and gravitational physics from 1967 to 2009, with special focus on relativistic stars, black holes, the theory of time travel, and especially gravitational waves. Fifty-three students received their PhDs under his mentorship, and he mentored roughly sixty postdoctoral students. He co-authored the textbooks Gravitation (1973, with Charles Misner and John Archibald Wheeler) and Modern Classical Physics (2017, with Roger Blandford), and was sole author of Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy.

With Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever Kip founded the LIGO Project. In September 2014 LIGO made the breakthrough discovery of gravitational waves arriving at Earth from the distant universe.  For his contributions to LIGO and to gravitational wave research, Kip shared (with Weiss and LIGO Director Barry Barish) the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics and several other major awards.

In 2009, Kip stepped down from his Caltech professorship to ramp up a new career at the interface between the arts and science. This has included, among other things, Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster movie Interstellar (which sprang from a Treatment Kip co-authored, and for which he was Executive Producer); Kip’s book The Science of Interstellarand a recent book of tightly integrated verse (by Kip) and paintings (by Lia Halloran), titled The Warped Side of our Universe.