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See you out there amongst the stars old friend

I’ve just received email notice of the death of Dr. Robert L. Forward. He’s known to some for the wonderful “hardest of the hard” Science Fiction he wrote; to others for his cutting edge work in physics and propulsion systems; and to still others for his loud vests, boyish exuberance, smile and tossled white hair. At any conference his gesticulating presence around the bar of the hospitality suite was certain. He carried all around him on a race through one stunningly creative idea after another.

I last talked to Bob in May when he was of enormous help as I put together a conference track on Novel Propulsion Systems. “Enormous help” from Bob was the rule, not the exception. He’s been of assistance to me so many times over the twenty years in which I have had the good fortune to know him I would be filling pages if I were to itemize.

All I can say is, we’ll miss you Bob. Intellects and personalities wrapped up with warmth and caring like yours are more than few and far between: they are nearly non-existant.

Bob Forward at 1992 National Space Society
conference in Washington, DC. (photo: D. Amon)

3 comments to See you out there amongst the stars old friend

  • J. David Baxter

    I had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Forward, once at the 1997 NASA Lewis Research Center’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Workshop, and more recently at the AIAA/ASME/ASE/ASEE Joint Prtopulsion Conference in 2001 in Salt Lake City. Being involved with breakthrough propulsion physics research myself, Robert Forward’s work has always been an inspiration to me. I have article reviews of some of his papers on the Utah Space Association website: http://members.aol.com/utahspace .

    He will be missed. He gave me much encouragement at the Salt Lake City Conference, regarding reduced zero-point-energy around a spacecraft lowering inertia, and increasing light speed.


    J. David Baxter

  • He also wore the some of the coolest waistcoats on God’s good earth. You can just see one rainbow-coloured sample in the picture you posted. At a SF convention where he was a speaker everybody else was asking him about quantum tunnelling and stuff, but I asked how many waistcoats he had. Alas, after so many years I can’t remember the answer he gave, but it boiled down to “lots” – said with a big grin. I think his wife made them.

  • Tony McDonald

    I’ve just read about this on “Instapudit” and immediately said “Oh no!”.

    Dr Forward burst into my life with (I believe) the ‘Forward Mass
    Detector’ – in a story, ‘The Hole Man’, by Larry Niven.

    It took quite some time to realise that Dr Forward was a real person, and some
    time later I read a book of his, “Dragons Egg” – a *very* hard SF book –
    and I have a PhD in Physics!. It took a while before I read another book of his,
    “Rocheworld” – again, pretty hard stuff.

    However hard they were, I always felt that by reading one of his books, I’d stretched myself mentally.

    I then came across ‘tether systems’ – which seemed a crazy idea, but because it had Dr
    Forward behind it, I felt it had a stamp of authority, which meant it demanded further

    I never met Dr Forward, but he seems somewhat larger than life to me, perhaps because a writer I
    greatly admire, Larry Niven, chose to include him in one of his works.

    He’ll be greatly missed,