Why We Keep Open Minds
September 7, 2004 4:37 AM   Subscribe

Gravity Monuments were erected on several college campuses in the 1960's and 1970's by the Gravity Research Foundation "to remind students of the blessings forthcoming when science determines what gravity is, how it works, and how it may be controlled." I regularly visited the one at Colby College, in Maine. Emory had one, and apparently SMU did as well. Anyone know of others?
posted by mmahaffie (14 comments total)
There's evidently one at a Hobart College in New York, though it's called an "antigravity" monument. Here's a link to a pdf that mentions it, but this is what the text says about it:
Anti-Gravity Monument:
Quietly tucked beneath the trees outside Albright Auditorium, is a curious “tombstone.” Erected in 1963, its cryptic message reads: “Erected to remind students of the blessings forthcoming when a semi-insulator is discovered in order to harness gravity as a free power and reduce airplane accidents.” The location of the stone on campus was linked to a gift to the Colleges of “gravity grant” stocks, now totaling more than $1 million, from Roger Babson, founder of Babson College. The two trees shading the stone are said to be direct descendants of Newton’s famous apple tree.
posted by taz at 5:16 AM on September 7, 2004

Ah yes, taz, that's the same text that was on the Colby Monument. Somewhere I have a photo print of that monument that I need to dig out and scan. I snapped it about 15 years ago when I took my lovely wife back to Maine to visit the scene of my college crimes. That monument was proof, for me as an undergrad, that the world is essentially a goofy place and irreverence is a worthwhile approach to reality.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:22 AM on September 7, 2004

Tufts has one.
posted by e.e. coli at 6:40 AM on September 7, 2004

And here's photographic evidence of the gravity stone at Tufts
posted by andrewraff at 6:51 AM on September 7, 2004

Boy, this is tough:

One wish -- world peace or control of gravity?
posted by PigAlien at 9:05 AM on September 7, 2004

All you have to do is aling a multidimensional matrix in order to get the gravitons to align correctly. Either keep them in our three dimensional plane, or shunt them off to the fourth dimension. Hard to figure out unless you put a lot of money into it and work with a large experimental area.
posted by jmccorm at 11:04 AM on September 7, 2004

Yes, obviously, from my previous comment, one can deduce that gravity is not bound to our three dimensional universe.
posted by jmccorm at 11:05 AM on September 7, 2004

I don't get it. There's no ropes or anchor or anything. What's keeping that huge stone from flying up into the sky?
posted by Peter H at 11:34 AM on September 7, 2004

Ohhhhhhhh.... (slaps forehead) magnets!
posted by Peter H at 11:36 AM on September 7, 2004

Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., was founded by Roger Babson, the father of the modern anti-gravity movement, who devoted his later years to fighting cruel, cruel gravity because his sister died from it (um, drowning, but the gravity pulled her down).
posted by adamg at 11:37 AM on September 7, 2004

why don't they like gravity?
posted by ZippityBuddha at 12:52 PM on September 7, 2004

Middlebury College has one (or at least did when I was there - from the alumni magazine it looks like there's a new building where the monument was).
posted by skyscraper at 1:05 PM on September 7, 2004

Gravity is a harsh mistress, as they say.

I used to walk by the one at Tufts every day with a little smile. Oh, Science, what will you think up next!
posted by kaibutsu at 2:07 PM on September 7, 2004

jesus christ, is everyone in metafilter a damned jumbo? my personal favorite story about the tufts one is that (and i add a big supposedly to this) one year the gravity stone disappear, it was just gone...then a few months later (ie: when someone noticed it was gone) it suddenly reappeared again. The story goes that a bunch of CivE's (ahem...anderson's brightest :) ) dug a hole behind the stone and pushed it over, covering it nicely...then a few months later all they had to do was dig it out and clean it up.
posted by NGnerd at 11:15 PM on September 7, 2004

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