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Robert L. Forward Collection

Identifier: MC-11
The Robert L. Forward Collection (21 linear ft.) includes approximately 300 documents, books, personal memorabilia, and art work. Subjects covered within this collection include a wide range of aerospace technology, such as antigravity, lasers, interstellar travel propulsion systems, light levitation of orbital satellites, antimatter, and tether transport systems.


  • 1961-02-11 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives and Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.


21 Linear Feet (Being moved from gray 1/2 ft. boxes to white 1 ft. boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Robert Lull Forward (1932-2002) was born on August 15, 1932 in Geneva, New York. He attended the University of Maryland and graduated in 1954 with a BS in Physics, and then served two years as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. In 1956, he went to work for Hughes Aircraft Company Corporate Research Laboratories in Malibu, California and resumed his education under the company's Graduate Research Fellowship, earning an MS in Applied Physics from University of UCLA in 1958 and a PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland in 1965. Forward remained with Hughes for 31 years, eventually serving as Senior Scientist.

Forward published groundbreaking work in the field of gravitational physics, with 172 publications; as an inventor, he acquired 28 patents; as a popular science writer, he authored 71 articles; as a science fiction writer, he published 14 novels and 13 short stories; and a research department manager, he directed more than 50 scientists and engineers.

Forward was a consulting scientist, a future technologist, a lecturer, and a science fact and science fiction writer. He was the founder and chief scientist of Forward Unlimited, a consulting firm established in 1962, specializing in exotic physics and advanced space propulsion. He was also a founder and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited, a partnership with Robert P. Hoyt formed in 1994 that specialized in highly survivable space tethers.

Forward pioneered the field of gravitational engineering and invented the gravitational mass detector; pioneered the fields of smart structures, of ultra-cold neutrons, of antimatter propulsion, of space tethers, of rocketless propulsion. He was the first to invent a method for levitating spacecraft without its being in orbit; Forward also invented the space tethers, which will revolutionize space travel within the solar system.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert L. Forward, 2002.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.



Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America