Congratulations to Kip Thorne *65 (Princetonians, Oct. 25)! As a contemporary, I have followed his sparkling career with interest. Since Kip has accomplished many things over a long and distinguished career, it seemed wonderfully appropriate that he became a Nobel laureate for his part in the recently successful detection of gravity waves using the phenomenally precise Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) instrumentation that he helped develop. I am absolutely astounded that LIGO is evidently able to unambiguously detect gravity waves through minuscule changes in its own length, while operating in the presence of all sorts of spurious background-noise sources such as tiny temperature fluctuations, wind gusts, and even trees falling in the nearby forest.
One long overdue item I would like to see addressed relates to the very prediction of gravity waves originally described by Albert Einstein as a result of his groundbreaking work in general relativity more than a century ago. In one of the extreme ironies of modern physics, the very theory that forms the underpinning of Professor Thorne’s (and many others’) work, and which represents one of the towering achievements of the human mind, has itself never been awarded the Nobel Prize! I would like to suggest that perhaps a certain committee in Sweden might see fit to posthumously award Albert Einstein a similar honor. Better late than never!