Robert Lull Forward – papers, patents, science fiction, work, family, life and hopes

I was looking for papers by Robert Lull Forward (

There is a link to “Robert L. Forward Collection, The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections” but the link is broken.

Do you know if anyone has tried to organize all his papers? There are a lot at “Since 1987, Robert L. Forward’s papers (60 linear feet) have been housed at the Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside Libraries.”

I am not so interested in his science fiction, nor his patents. I studied at UMD College Park and Joe Weber recommended I follow Robert’s work, rather then get embroiled in what happened to Joe. That was about 1978. I never met Robert in person and only corresponded briefly by email shortly before he died. I was reading a book by Penfield and Haus (1867) today that I read years ago. At the very end it mentions Robert and his gravitational energy density. I forgot where I first saw that. It was the energy density I spent so many years on. Funny how little things can change a whole life.

I think it would be useful to organize his scientific papers, equations and models so they can be used, not just indexed.

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation


Thank you for your prompt, courteous and useful reply.

The link is not broken it seems. Rather it simply will not work with networks set to high security levels. That port designated in the URL is not allowed.  I do not have access to put holes in the firewall. Also most browsers are requiring HTTPS: This link will always fail from this location.

I live in Texas and no longer drive so I won’t be able to visit.  I was hoping some of the materials had been scanned and available at least some of the material.  If there are 8 feet of papers, and no indication of what it looks like, it is similar to what I face going to the climate change model sites and they have a button that says “download”.  The file is 10 PetaBytes and there is no index there to see what it contains, nor any way to ask for a few things.  I was just talking to a solar data site and they do not have a preview of their data, nor forms accessible to the 5 Billion internet users, and all their “documentation” is scattered and inaccessible, much out of date.

I feel obligated to Robert Forward because he affected so many years of my life. But we never really met.  I think he and Joseph Weber ought to be better known and appreciated for their work in making gravity a practical engineering discipline and science. But that is a hard task that could take years, especially as is might still depend on paper methods. I get worn out these days trying to get websites to use open methods for data sharing.  I have convinced a few publishers to change and some pre-print and research groups.  To be honest, the libraries on the Internet are almost the worst.  So filled with individual attempts to share, but no true global open methods. It is not the names of books and papers that is needed, but the contents and meaning.  It seems we will have to leave most of the scanning and curation to the new generation of “AI” people.  God help us all, they do not care about content at all.

Thank you.

Richard Collins, The Internet Foundation

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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