R. Buckminster Fuller

By: Peggy Nelson
July 12, 2009


A New England scion twice kicked out of Harvard for nonconformity and “apathy,” R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER (1895-1983) went on to invent the geodesic dome (he said he got the idea while watching the bubbles generated by his ship’s wake in WWI), a 3-wheeled aerodynamic car, an energy-efficient house made out of discarded grain elevators, and a popular world map that reflected correct spherical geography rather than postwar politics. Dissatisfied with the referential potential of existing words and ideas, Fuller also invented his own, including dymaxion, or maximum efficiency and flexibility, which he appended to almost all his inventions; synergetics, or the science of emergent behavior; and tensegrity, or stability resulting from the opposition of dynamic and compressive structural forces. He also created one of the first massively multiplayer games, the World Game. In lectures that were as renowned for their length as for their rhetoric, Bucky insisted that another world was possible, and that design — a pursuit available to all — was the way to get there.


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