Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Gravity Stone, 1961


In 1961 the Gravity Stone or Gravity Monument was placed on the north side of Barnum Hall facing Ballou Hall. The stone's placement on campus was one of the stipulations Roger W. Babson added when he made a sizable donation to Tufts which was meant for research in the field of gravity.

Mr. Babson was a stock market genius and an enthusiast of the study of gravition. He made several donations to numerous universities with the hopes that the money would advance the study of gravity. His efforts to find institutions of research extended so far that Mr. Babson himself founded three schools, including Babson College. The stone itself is made of solid granite and is estimated to weigh anywhere from 2000 to 3,200 pounds

Since the stone's arrival in 1961, it has fulfilled more than just an aesthetic role on campus. In years past the stone was more mythical and held a place in on-campus folklore. In 1962 a group of students and employees of Buildings and Grounds tested whether or not the stone itself would defy gravity by digging a large hole underneath the stone. The group observed that even the great Gravity Stone succumbed to the all-powerful forces of which its carvings preach. The group then simply left the stone buried until another group of students and groundskeepers took it upon themselves to dig up the stone and replace it to its original location. Thus began a cycle of burying and digging up the stone which was continued for several years. In 1968 the burying was done yet again, but in this instance the perpetrators were a group of workers building a sidewalk between Barnum and Ballou who buried the stone because it was in the path of their sidewalk. It remained in its secret tomb until 1971 when the Tufts Mountain Club allegedly unearthed the stone by sheer accident the night before commencement. After the infamous fire in Barnum Hall of 1975 the stone was moved to an area behind Cousens Gym. Finally, in 1977 the administration confiscated the stone and removed it to an undisclosed location after an incident where students had blocked the doors of Barnum Hall with the monument as a prank the night before commencement.

The stone was returned to its current location between Eaton Hall and Goddard Chapel in the early 1980's and has not had any unapproved movements since then. The inscription on the stone reads, "THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THE GRAVITY RESEARCH FOUNDATION. ROGER W. BABSON FOUNDER.IT IS 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. 1964"


Subject terms:
  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
 List of Sources