Bernard Schutz has done research and teaching in general relativity and especially its applications in astronomy since 1970. He is the author of more than 200 publications, including Geometrical Methods of Mathematical Physics and Gravity from the Ground Up (both published by Cambridge University Press). Schutz currently specialises in gravitational wave research, studying the theory of potential sources and designing new methods for analysing the data from current and planned detectors. He is a member of most of the current large-scale gravitational wave projects: GEO600 (of which he is a PI), the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and LISA. Schutz is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, also known as the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), in Potsdam, Germany. He holds a part-time chair in Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University, Wales, as well as honorary professorships at Potsdam and Hanover universities in Germany. Educated in the USA, he taught physics and astronomy for twenty years at Cardiff before moving to Germany in 1995 to the newly-founded AEI. In 1998 he founded the open-access online journal Living Reviews in Relativity. The Living Reviews family now includes six journals. In 2006 he was awarded the Amaldi Gold Medal of the Italian Society for Gravitation (SIGRAV), and in 2011 he received an honorary DSc from the University of Glasgow. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the Learned Society of Wales, the German Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina and the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, Uppsala.
Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time.
Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.
Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.