In Memoriam: MechSE alumnus and inventor of HANS device
Bob was a father and mentor to many and a friend to all. He laughed and cried easily and loved deeply. He liked to design and build things, listen to music, sing, run, sail, ski, scuba dive and boast about his children. Of his many accomplishments he was most proud of his family. Bob embodied integrity and generosity. He was kind, compassionate, curious and always ready to have a meaningful conversation. He enjoyed frequent trips up north to the cottage on Lake Michigan as well as camping in many National Parks with his family.
Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, JoAnn; his twin children Matt Hubbard (Martha Fowler) and Cristin Miller (Billy Miller); his brother Bill Hubbard (Bonnie Hubbard); and his grandchildren Dean Hubbard, Lila Miller and Ivy Miller.
After graduating with an engineering degree from Duke University in 1965, Bob completed a PhD in theoretical and applied mechanics at the University of Illinois. In the 1970s he worked for General Motors, studying crash-related injuries and developing early crash-test dummy technology.
Bob invented the life-saving Head And Neck Support device that revolutionized motorsports safety and has been called the most important safety advance since the seatbelt. He developed the HANS in the 1980s in collaboration with brother-in-law and championship driver Jim Downing. Countless racers around the world avoid injury or worse by using this device. The HANS and related artifacts will be installed in the Smithsonian Museum in 2021. Honoring his pioneering work in racing safety, Bob received the inaugural (2016) SAE John Melvin Motorsport Safety Award and many other accolades. Bob was a professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan State University from 1977 until 2006. He was an active supporter of student learning and research and received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005. Bob’s passion for innovation was evident in his creation of a class that still brings together engineering and marketing students in the field of biomechanics. In addition, he was a consultant for NASA.
Read the original obituary here, along with messages from loved ones and former students of Hubbard.
The following are obituaries listed for Bob noting his great achievements in the engineering field: