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Jim Thorne





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Actor; Host/Presenter; Songwriter

American Roots; Children's; Country

Flute; Acoustic Guitar


Join Date:

25 Dec 2019

Jim Thorne


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Jim Thorne is a singer/songwriter and the host/producer of a TV show based on his story songs called "Space Quest with Dr. Jim", which is carried by 15 public access stations in the U.S. and on YouTube.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum has animated four of Jim’s songs for the Music Time section of their YouTube channel. The videos include imagery of real spacecraft and other items from the artifact collections.

Jim's TV show, “Space Quest with Dr. Jim” won Silver Award in the People’s Tellys in 2020.

Early Life and Interests

James “Jim” Thorne was raised in a small college town in Western  Pennsylvania. He took an early interest in music and learned to play  piano, guitar, banjo, trombone, and later studied jazz flute and  mandolin. Jim was identified as a gifted student in the third grade and  was selected as the subject of a special research project by a graduate  student in education. He learned everything he could about math, science  and space engineering, and graduated from high school in three years to  start college early. Jim earned a degree in space engineering from  Purdue University where he followed in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong.  After Purdue, Jim served 21 years of active duty in the US Air Force  working with space systems, and completed masters and PhD degrees in  astronautical engineering. He solved a 300+ year-old problem in orbital  mechanics that was described as “difficult” by Isaac Newton, and the  equation he derived is known as “Thorne’s Solution of the Lambert  Problem” in the scientific literature.

Music and Educational Outreach

In 2014, Jim was contacted by a talent agent from New York who liked  his family-friendly comedy songs, and suggested that he might try  writing for children. After writing several folk-style story songs for  kids, Jim noticed that a song he wrote about space travel called “The  Stars Go By” really captured the imaginations of the children, and so he  started playing it in elementary schools as part of space science  presentations. The response was so positive, he decided to inspire  children with a full album called “To Follow Apollo” about two  characters, a young boy and girl named Tommy and Laura, who go on  scientifically accurate adventures in the solar system and beyond.

Next Project

Jim has released a new album called “A Race in Space” where the same  two characters, Tommy and Laura, continue their missions to the planets  and also take a trip back in time to photograph the early space launches  to create a history display in the future. The seven new songs touch on  specific questions from the state Standards of Learning (SOLs) for  elementary students to help them prepare for their tests in school. Some  local students were very pleased when they used the title track “A Race  in Space” to study for, and pass their standardized tests.

Jim Thorne

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