R. Buckminster Fuller

by Nancy Nickerson

"All humanity now has the option of becoming enduringly successful." - R. Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller was an important innovator of the 20th century. A man of many talents, he was an inventor, architect and author, as well as a mathematician, economist and philosopher. He invented the geodesic dome, and coined both the word "synergy" and the moniker "Spaceship Earth." He was a remarkably creative thinker who gained a cult-like following.

R. Buckminster Fuller was born July 12, 1895 in Milton, Massachusetts. In 1912 he became the 5th generation of Fullers to be accepted at Harvard where he was later expelled--not once, but twice. He hung out in the artistic community of Greenwich Village in the 1920's where his unconventional ideas were more readily accepted. In 1929 he built the energy-efficient "Dymaxion House" and later a "Dymaxion Car," a term he invented by combining the words 'dynamic,' 'maximum' and 'ion.'

Bucky was perhaps most famous for his Geodesic Dome design of the late 40s. The term "geodesic" comes from the Latin meaning "earth dividing." A humanitarian, Fuller was concerned with providing economical, earth-friendly housing. The design was patented in 1954. The most famous example of his geodesic dome is Disney's EPCOT theme park, which remains a symbol of design of the future.

In 1963 he wrote, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Buckminster Fuller died July 1, 1983. A compendium of his works was published that same year as Inventions: the Patented Works of R.Buckminster Fuller.

 

"Observation of my life to date shows that the larger the number for whom I work, the more positively effective I become. Thus, it is obvious that if I work always and only for all humanity, I will be optimally effective."

–R. Buckminster Fuller

Page created on 7/20/2012 1:51:54 PM

Last edited 1/4/2017 9:59:23 PM

Related Links

The Buckminster Fuller Institute - serves a global network of design science innovators working at the leading edge to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone".
Design Museum - R. Buckminster Fuller Inventor, Designer, Architect, Theorist (1895-1983)
American Masters, PBS - Buckminster Fuller
On Innovation - Buckminster Fuller: Visionary Thinker, Serial Entrepreneur

Extra Info

Illustrated by Arild Isaksen

Related Books

Author Info

Arild Isaksen is an artist from Norway and a student at The Art Institute of Southern California. One of his heroes is R. Buckminster Fuller. He created the illustrations for this story.