Monday, April 21, 2014

The most under-appreciated genius of the 20th century


R. Buckminster Fuller was probably the smartest man I ever saw.

Here he is at a press conference at the Indianapolis Airport on Jan. 30, 1973. He had flown to Indiana for speaking engagements at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute and at Hanover College at Hanover.

For those who are among the under-appreciators, Bucky Fuller’s message to the world was that Malthusian predictions of global overpopulation and universal famine are bullshit because science and technology are continually finding ways to do more with less.

fullerstampHe liked to use copper electrical wire as an example. There is a finite amount of copper in the world, but by 1973 it was becoming obvious that fiber optic cable – made from sand, of which there is a near infinite supply – makes communicating over copper wires about as practical as smoke signals or jungle drums.

He was a prolific inventor and his best-known creation was the geodesic dome, which is an elegant expression of doing more with less to enclose space. He also invented the Dymaxion car and the Dymaxion house.

He died in 1983 at the age of 87. He was honored with a U.S. postage stamp in 2004 on the 50th anniversary of his patent for the geodesic dome.

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