About Bucky

- About Buckminster Fuller  
- Geodesic Dome
- Trimtab Factor
- Dymaxion Map 
- Inventory of World Resources 
- World Game 
- More About Bucky 


About Buckminster Fuller

R. Buckminster Fuller was born 1895 and died at age 87 in 1983.  He was a visionary, futurist, inventor, designer, author.  Bucky published more than 30 books, popularizing such terms as  “Spaceship Earth“, ephemeralization, and synergetics
He is probably best known as the inventor of the geodesic dome, the lightest, strongest, most cost-effective structure ever devised. 

Einstein said Bucky was the only person able to make practical use of his
Theory of Relativity.  Even Einstein hadn’t been able to figure that out. 
Newton’s laws of reality stated that rest is the natural state of a body that is not being acted upon by an outside force.  Bucky realized Einstein’s Theory of Relativity described a Universe in constant, ceaseless motion.  This breakthrough insight established change, rather than rest, as the
normal state of everything.  

By the time he turned 30, Bucky’s father had died, he’d been kicked out of Harvard, twice, he was penniless, and his first-born died in his arms.  Feeling desolate, with no future prospects, Bucky contemplated suicide.  He decided instead to commit the rest of his life to an experiment he called Guinea Pig B.  He was the guinea pig.  His goal was “To see what one man, without money or credit to his name, can do to make the world a better place.”   

One of Bucky’s primary messages had to do with nature doing more with less. 
He also believed the way to change people was to improve their environment to support life, not undermine it.  This would create a synergetic effect, further propelling the person forward in their pursuit of happiness, well being, and fulfillment. 

During his lifetime, Bucky was awarded 25 U.S Patents, authored 28 books, received 47 honorary doctorate degrees. It was Bucky who coined the phrase, Spaceship Earth. 

Bucky and wife Anne were marred for 66 years.  July 1983, while visiting his beloved Anne in the hospital, Bucky died of a heart attack.  Anne passed away 36 hours later. 

Geodesic Dome

Bucky recognized the 5-sided tetrahedron to be the smallest possible subdivision of Universe.  His explorations of spherical geometry led to his discoveries of what was later named geodesic geometry. 

While not the inventor of the first geodesic dome … that was Walther Bauersfeld,
just after World War I … it was Bucky who developed the mathematical formulas,
holds the patents, and popularized the idea.  He foresaw how the geodesic dome
could revolutionize home architecture because of its efficiency and affordability. 

The geodesic dome encloses the greatest volume for the least surface area.  It is extremely strong, particularly in relation to the amount of materials and weight used to build and stabilize the structure.  Most impressive was how quickly they can be built, which means a huge cost savings in labor as well as materials. 

Trimtab Factor

Bucky coined the term “Trimtab Factor to describe the leveraging effect of a small, precise intervention to produce a powerful result.  He came up with the concept after thinking about a huge ocean liner is traveling at great speed.  How its massive forward momentum creates tremendous resistance to changing course.  Enormous effort is required to redirect such a powerful driving force. 

By building a tiny rudder into the trailing edge of the main rudder, the ship becomes extremely responsive to sudden demands to change direction.  It takes only a minuscule amount of pressure to turn the small rudder, which causes the big one to pivot, which makes it easy to alter course.  This is referred to as the “Trim Tab Factor.”

A quote from the Buckminster Fuller Institute gives you a taste of Bucky’s writing style. 
“In design science, the trimtab metaphor is used to describe an artifact, or system, specifically designed and placed in the environment at such a time, in such a place, where its effects would be maximized, thereby effecting the most advantageous change with the least resources, time and energy.  Doing more with less.”

Bucky was a fabulous inventor of hundreds of extremely useful ideas.  He considered the “Trim Tab Factor” concept one of his crowning achievements, which is why his gravestone reads “Call Me Trimtab”.

For definitions and descriptions, see TrimTab Concept

Dymaxion Map

The only flat map that reveals our planet as it really is … an island in a single ocean … without distorting the relative shapes and sizes of the land masses or splitting countries and continents, as other maps do.  On top of that, it can be folded into a sphere to obtain the benefits of a 3-D all-around perspective.  Furthermore, it can be reconfigured to put different countries and continents in the center, eliminating the subtle subconscious bias built into most maps …still used to teach our children…
that continue to put selected countries in the center, subliminally indicating greater importance.  There’s a picture of the map, opening and closing, at http://www.grunch.net/synergetics/map/dymax.html

Inventory of World Resources

Begun in 1917, Bucky’s inventory of available resources, human trends and needs, became one of the most comprehensive in the world before the age of computers.  It led to two key realizations. 

One – World famous economist Thomas Malthus declared in 1798 that human population was increasing faster than we could produce life-supporting goods and services.  When the public combined this theory with Darwin’s “survival of the fittest,” it led to the fear-based competition for vital resources that has been governing our conduct ever since.  

Buckminster Fuller showed that Malthus had not taken into account the synergistic results of combining new knowledge to take better advantage of static resources.  Bucky was able to document that the rate at which technology increased life-supporting production was much faster than the rate of population increase.

Two – Bucky’s global resource inventory also demonstrated that,
if humanity were willing to shift it’s priorities from destructive weaponry to life-support, there would be sufficient resources to support all humanity.  To lift everyone out of poverty.  

Bucky calculated that by 1970 mankind would have advanced far enough scientifically and intellectually to be able to provide the basics of food, shelter and water to every single person on the planet … without having to make everyone else poorer in the process.  As a matter of fact, doing so would advance humanity up another notch of the evolutionary scale, to a higher level or functioning and effectiveness. 

World Game

In response to the ravages of war and nationalism in the late 1940’s, Bucky designed a most interesting means to address these critical problems.  His goal was to “make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone.”

Based on the model used in War Games, he introduced an alternative World Peace Game in 1961.  It allows players of all ages and backgrounds to trust their instincts and teach each other.  To understand and develop solutions to what Bucky called the real enemies of humanity:  hunger, illiteracy, lack of health care, environmental degradation and “you or me” thinking.

While it’s purpose was serious, Bucky chose to label his vision a “game” because he wanted it seen as something that was accessible to everyone, not just the elite few in power who thought they were running the show. 

He envisioned these findings being widely disseminated to the masses through a free press.  Which could not help but create a ground-swell of public vetting and acceptance of self-discovered solutions to society’s ongoing problems.  Ultimately this would force the political process to become more democratic and open, which the World Game clearly demonstrates to be absolutely essential to survival. 

To learn more about the World Game, visit:  www.bfi.org/our_programs/who_is_buckminster_fuller/design_science/world_game

More About Bucky

I’ve said it before and I’ll undoubtedly remind again, ‘cause it’s so darn important that we hear – realize – believe – with as much understanding as possible.  We have everything we need to solve all our problems.  Bucky left behind an incredible archive of information and ideas expected to help see us through the next 100 years.  Waiting for the moment when mankind is ready to move ahead and do what’s possible.  That’s how farseeing he was. 

Bucky’s life was dedicated to being of service to mankind.  He considered himself an ordinary man.  He recognized that we all have genius hidden within, and clearly learned how to tap into his own unique potential. 

You now know why I dedicate my life’s work to Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, and consider him a mentor, though we never met. 

For more information:

A wonderful YouTube video will give you a flavor of the man and a sense of his work.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0_DKeFfObI
Visit the Buckminster Fuller Institute website at www.bfi.org
Read the excellent book, Buckminster Fuller’s Universe: His Life and Work by Lloyd Steven Sieden.