Roger Babson is the founder of the Gravity Research Foundation, an organization with the stated purpose of studying, understanding and, ultimately, harnessing the force of gravity. It was the childhood drowning of his older sister in a river near Gloucester, Massachusetts that sparked Babson’s life-long interest in finding a way to control the effects of gravity. So motivated was he, that Babson wrote an essay titled “Gravity – Our Enemy No. 1.” Speaking of his sister in the essay he noted, “She was unable to fight gravity, which came up and seized her like a dragon and brought her to the bottom.”
Lest you get the impression that Roger Babson was an unconventional man on the fringes of society, you should know a few things about the man and his life.
Babson was a graduate of MIT, an author of over 40 books and a one-time presidential candidate. He was an inventor, a successful entrepreneur and proffered many theories pertaining to business. A devotee of Isaac Newton’s laws of action and reaction, Babson credited Newton with helping him to become an astute investor. So astute was Babson, that he accurately predicted the stock market crash of 1929, though few heeded his warnings.
Having amassed quite a fortune, Babson founded the Gravity Research Foundation, in part, as a way of repaying Newton for his valuable work in the field. But what, you might ask, does an institute in Massachusetts that studies the effects of gravity have to do with Atlanta?
The answer is more simple than you might think because, as with Babson’s sister, Atlanta has felt the pull of, in Babson’s words, the “dragon that reached out and brought her to the bottom,” as you will see in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.