Hibbs, Albert R., 1924-2003Alternative names
Hibbs was Chief of the Division of Space Sciences.
From the description of Division of Space Sciences - Division 32 Program Structure, 1960 Sep. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733096844
From the description of Proposed budget for a lunar seismograph system, FY 1962, NASA-Lamont Geological Observatory : letter to Charles Sonett, NASA Chief of Lunar and Planetary Sciences, 1961 May 10. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733096940
From the description of Proposed budget for a lunar seismograph system, FY 1962, NASA-Caltech : letter to Charles Sonett, NASA Chief of Lunar and Planetary Sciences, 1961 May 10. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733096938
Hibbs was Chief of the Arms Control Study Group, JPL.
From the description of Role as an Experimenter on the Ranger Lunar Photographic Experiment : letter to Homer E. Newell, Director, Office of Space Sciences, NASA, 1963 Apr 11. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733099466
Hibbs was Chief of the Division of the Space Sciences.
From the description of Dissemination of photographic data to the public and other scientists : letter to Homer E. Newell, NASA Director of the Office of Space Sciences, 1962 Jan 4. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733100757
From the description of Memo summarizing discussions held 1961 Dec 9 regarding the Ranger TV mission : letter to Eugene M. Shoemaker, 1962 Jan 4. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733097153
From the description of Dissemination of Ranger 3 Photographs : memo to Experimenters for the Ranger TV Mission, 1962 Jan 4. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733097154
Albert Roach Hibbs (1924-2003) was born in Akron, Ohio on 19 October 1924. Raised nearby in Chillicothe, Ohio, Al was the second child of Albert Samuel Hibbs, manager of the Chillicothe Water Department, and Alberta Roach Hibbs, a chemist, and brother to older sister, Agnes, born two years earlier in 1922.
Al Hibbs moved to southern California in 1942 to attend the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as an undergraduate student under the Navy's V-12 program, where he met his lifelong friend and collaborator, Roy L. Walford, later a Professor of Pathology at UCLA School of Medicine and a crew member of Biosphere 2. Hibbs earned his Bachelor of Science in Physics from Caltech in 1945 and after a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy following World War II, was awarded a Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1947. Prior to returning to California in 1950, he and Walford spent over a year traveling the Caribbean aboard a 40-foot sailboat, Adonde, after earning the money to support the trip by exploiting the mechanical quirks of roulette wheels to beat the odds in Reno in 1947 and in Las Vegas in 1948. In 1950 Hibbs began work as a research engineer in the Research and Analysis Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), then a rocket research laboratory operated by Caltech for the U.S. Army and transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) later that year. The following year he returned to Caltech in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Physics, which he was awarded in 1955. As a doctoral student, his advisor was Nobel physicist Richard Feynman; the two became close friends and collaborators, coauthoring the textbook Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals, published in 1965.
Hibbs' theoretical work at JPL laid the foundation for the successful launching of the country's first satellites and lunar probes. As the head of the Research and Analysis Section, he was the systems designer for the first successful U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. He helped create and served as Chief of the Space Sciences Division from 1960 to 1962, designing instruments and carrying out scientific studies on the Moon and planets. He held several other research and managerial positions during his tenure at JPL, including Senior Staff Scientist of the Office of Plans and Programs (1967-1969), assigned to long-range planning of Laboratory activities; Manager of Transportation Technology Office (1969-1970), responsible for directing the application of space technology to the solution of problems in transportation; Manager of Program Planning and Coordination (1976-1980), establishing new space development programs and projects; Manager of Strategic Planning, developing concepts for future space activities; and Manager of Space Science and Applications Program, involving research in Earth and space sciences, instrument development, and preliminary design studies of future space flights. He retired from JPL as the Director of Space Science in November 1986.
Hibbs left JPL from 1962 to 1967 on special assignment as staff scientist for the Arms Control Study Group (ACSG) of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) to study how arms-control treaties could be monitored from space.
Working independently, with Caltech, JPL, and NASA, and with local and national broadcasting outlets, Hibbs hosted and produced a number of radio and television programs for both adults and children during his career. Hibbs emerged as the "Voice of JPL" and became the spokesperson for the unmanned spacecraft missions during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. With an aptitude for making difficult science understandable, he chronicled for the world, via television and radio, the Ranger and Surveyor missions to the Moon; the Mariner missions to Venus, Mars, and Mercury; the Viking missions to Mars; and the Voyager missions to the outer planets. He received numerous awards and honors for his television and radio work, including the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award in 1963 for hosting the NBC weekly children's television program "Exploring" which ran from 1962 to 1966. Additionally, he received the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation National Media Award for "Exploring" in 1962 and 1965, and for his work on "World of Science" as the best science radio program for youth in 1965. In 1984 he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, "especially for his outstanding achievements in explaining the complexities and significance of space exploration to the general public via radio and television."
Hibbs maintained close ties to Caltech throughout his career and into retirement. From 1965 to 1974 he taught courses at Caltech in physics, government, national security, and transportation issues. He performed with Men's Glee Club and in several theatrical productions with Theater Arts at California Institute of Technology (TACIT) during the 1980s and 1990s. In retirement, he was on the Board of Directors for both the Caltech Y and the Volunteer Professionals for Medical Advancement (VPMA), a group of retired JPL engineers and scientists working with local doctors and hospitals to develop new medical technologies.
He was active in a number of projects outside of JPL, including Biosphere 2 as a member of the Project Review Committee from 1987 to 1992 and the Geosphere Project as a member of the Eyes on Earth Board of Directors from 1989 to 1995. He was also involved in the development of the Morgantown Area Rapid Transit System (MARTS), funded by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA), which he continued work on after JPL abandoned the system management role.
Hibbs authored numerous articles on diverse subjects in a variety of publications, both popular and technical. In addition to published works, he composed poetry, stories, and script ideas that never reached publication. He also gave speeches on a variety of subjects to diverse audiences ranging from professional organizations to neighborhood churches.
As a hobby he enjoyed making kinetic sculpture. He was also a member of the Southern California Skeptics, a group affiliated with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) that aimed to promote and disseminate the fair and accurate investigation of alleged claims of paranormal occurrences.
He married Florence Pavin in 1950; they had two children, Victoria Pavin Hibbs (b. 1954) and Bart Dean Hibbs (b. 1955). Widowed in 1970, Hibbs remarried Marka Oliver in 1971; she had two children from a previous marriage, Alicia Cortrite and Lawrence (Larry) Wilson. Hibbs died on 24 February 2003 of complications following heart surgery at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California at the age of 78.
From the description of Papers of Albert R. Hibbs, 1884-2009. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 781315293
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Space flight to asteroids|
|Science--Study and teaching (Higher)|
|Space flight to Jupiter|
|Satellite image maps|
|Space flight to Mars|
|Voyager project :|
|Ranger block 3 television system:|
|Explorer 1 (Artificial satellite)|
|Space flight to Venus|
|Surveyor Program (U.S.)|
|Ranger project :|
|Space flight to Mercury|
|Explorer 3 satellite|
|Surveyor project :|
|Science television programs|
|Mariner program :|
|Lunik lunar probes|
|Science--Study and teaching (Elementary)|
|Explorer 1 (Artificial satellite)--Orbit|
|Space flight to the moon|
|Outer space--Civilian use|
|Space flight to the moon on television|
|Agena b ranger program|
|Biosphere 2 (Project)|
|Space flight to Saturn|
|Viking Mars Program (U.S.)|
|Ranger 3 lunar probe|
|Jupiter c rocket vehicle|