A misdirected life’s goal

I’d never heard of Roger W. Babson before, but maybe some of you at east coast colleges have seen one of his monuments. He was an eccentric millionaire who founded the Gravity Research Foundation and donated money for anti-gravity research. He gave money to colleges that would accept one of his granite monuments to “remind students of the blessings forthcoming when science determines what gravity is, how it works, and how it may be controlled.” It was his obsession. Apparently, his concern traces back to one event:

Babson, born in 1875, was a self-made millionaire who founded three colleges and once ran for the U.S. presidency as the candidate of the Prohibition Party. He became obsessed with gravity at the age of 18 when his younger sister, Edith, drowned in Massachusetts’ Annisquam River.

“She was unable to fight gravity,” Babson later wrote, “which came up and seized her like a dragon and brought her to the bottom.”

The fool! It wasn’t gravity that was the enemy, he needed to fund anti-viscosity research!