Dr. Kip Stephen Thorne (born June 1, 1940) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate, known for his work in gravitational physics and astrophysics, having worked with Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan. He works at Caltech as the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus. Kip is one of the world's leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity. In 2017, he along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the observation of gravitational waves.
In "The Laureate Accumulation", the Coopers are trying to get some Nobel winners on their side to counter their rivals' publicity tour. No one is interested because Sheldon has insulted everyone in the scientific community. First they send cookies to various prospects. Kip refuses to accept Sheldon Cooper's package.
- In "The Egg Salad Equivalency", Alex invites Leonard to join her in attending a lecture on subatomic spacetime by Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. Leonard then states that the lecture is Thorne's take on John Archibald Wheeler|John Wheeler's quantum foam. A world renowned relativist, John Wheeler had mentored Kip Thorne as his doctoral adviser (as Wheeler likewise was to Richard Feynman) and devised the concept of quantum foam in the year 1955.
- As the Richard Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus, Kip Thorne is retired. However, he still engages in research — evidenced by the continued publication of technical articles in refereed physics journals after attaining emeritus status in 2009 — as a member of the TAPIR (Theoretical Astrophysics Including Relativity) group. For further reading on his work refer to his biosketch and the article Crunch Time.
- Dr. Thorne was a longtime friend and colleague of Stephen Hawking.
- Dr. Thorne's work on the film Interstellar (film)|Interstellar is documented here. He published two peer-reviewed papers on it as well, Gravitational lensing by spinning black holes in astrophysics, and in the movie Interstellar and Visualizing Interstellar's Wormhole.