After 45 years, antigravity monument still standing tall

There are a lot of existing theories and ideas that deserve to be questioned, but most people do not second-guess the concept of gravity.

At least not anymore.

According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, in the early 1900s, self-made millionaire and one-time presidential candidate Roger W. Babson believed gravity could be overcome and controlled by humans.

Babson, who had a sister and grandson die drowning, became obsessed with gravity, writing an essay titled, “Gravity–Our Enemy No. 1.”

After founding the Gravity Research Foundation in 1949, Babson began giving grants to small East Coast schools to place monuments on their campuses to recognize the research he sponsored.

Today, there are 13 schools with antigravity monuments, including Eastern.

While unknown to most current students and faculty, the monument sits to the right of Andrews Hall, stating its purpose of reminding “students of the blessings forthcoming when science determines what gravity is, how it works and how it may be controlled.”

According to university archivist Dr. Frederick Boehlke, the monument was placed during the dedication of Andrews Hall on Oct. 15, 1964.

Boehlke said the president of the Gravity Research Foundation, George B. Rideout, had a daughter who was a sophomore at Eastern at the time. In addition, the university received a $5,000 grant for planting the marker. 

However, in all the coverage of the dedication ceremony, none of the campus publications mentioned the antigravity marker. 

“I think the college was a little bit embarrassed about it,” Boehlke said with a laugh, noting the connection between the monuments and the theory of perpetual motion.”But, I’m sure they wanted the $5,000.”

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