Halloran was introduced to Thorne seven years before they actually met, during his 1994 the book Black Holes and the Time Warp: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy, a gift from her mother. An astronomy elective during his undergraduate studies at UCLA sparked Halloran’s interest in astrophysics.
“I just loved how these big ideas made me understand the natural world,” she said. Later, as a graduate student at Yale, she based a graphic design project on ideas from Thorne’s book.
Years later, Halloran was able to encourage Thorne to express his science visually through mutual acquaintances. In one of their first meetings, Thorne asked her to make a sketch of black holes and wormholes for “a young filmmaker.” That filmmaker was Steven Spielberg, who showed the drawings to Christopher Nolan, the upcoming 2014 film. to the director of the epic space drama Interstellar. Thorne will serve as scientific consultant and executive producer on the film, and has written a book about the process, Interstellar Science.
“The Perverted Side” is an outward expression of Thorne and Halloran’s conversations over the past 13 years. Through poetry, Thorne distills scientific concepts such as Einstein’s law of time warps as well as innovations in astrophysics. One of the highlights is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, which Thorne founded 40 years ago and for which he shared the Nobel Prize for observing gravitational waves.
Halloran’s wife, Felicia, is a recurring character throughout the book. In one piece, her ghostly figure is stretched and squeezed upward through a spinning black hole. “Cruel shifting trends/tear apart the frenzied Felicia/then tear the atoms/of which she was made/-if the black hole is young,” reads Thorne’s accompanying line.
The talk was sponsored by the Harvard Book Store, the Science Department, the Harvard Library, and the Center for Astrophysics.
An exhibition artwork “Warped Side” is on view at Luis De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles until December 22.
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