Friday, 22 May 2009

Inspirational people

"You can never learn less, you can only learn more"
Buckminster Fuller

I'm going to start documenting people who inspire me, here on my blog. There are lots of people that have inspired my interests and study in the past and this would be a great place to bring them all together. They appear in no particular order.

I guess this has been in my mind over the last few days as I recently started thinking about an inspiring man that I had not thought about in a while, so am going to look into reading more about him again. Many years ago Alex and I watched a programme about R Buckminster Fuller, in fact I think I recorded it on VHS tape and still have that somewhere (note to self - try and find tape). The programme also featured John Todd and the Living Machine, which I will probably come back to too - a natural biological waste water treatment system that was created to copy the functions performed by wetlands. UK examples can be seen at Findhorn, BedZed, the Earth Centre in Doncaster (unfortunately now closed), Body Shop headquarters and the National Botanical Gardens of Wales.

"Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor and visionary." - Wikipedia.

Buckminster Fuller is probably most famously known as the inventor of the geodesic dome and the Dymaxion house. There are now thousands of examples around the World, not least The Eden Project in Cornwall, a place I love. Alex and I have always dreamed of building a Geodesic Dome and will do one day, probably as a shed or greenhouse rather than a home although that would be fantastic. We can dream.

He also wrote over 30 books. He is also the originator of the term "Spaceship Earth" - "expressing concern over the use of limited resources available on Earth and the behavior of everyone on it to act as a harmonious crew working toward the greater good." He wrote a fantastic book titled "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth".

He was also famous for his world maps, especially one that is based on the icosahedron. In creating this, his intention was to create a map without distorting the size and shape of continents as happens with most globe maps. This became known as the Dymaxion Map. There is an interactive version of this here. Another explanation of it can be found here.

Bucky's other works include the World Game which he envisioned being a tool to help solve problems on Earth. Part of this proposal included what he thought was a need for an source of information on the state of the world, etc. All this was before the explosion of World News and the Internet. What a visionary. His vision was that this would be somewhere people could cooperate or compete 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.”

Bucky's other major works included Synergetics, which I think is better explained here than by me!

Buckminster Fuller was awarded 28 Us patents, received 47 honorary doctorates, dozens of awards and also had a carbon molecule named after him for it's resemblance to the geodesic dome - "Buckminsterfullerene" or "Fullerene" and commonly known as the "Buckyball".

Bucky once said "Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them." He certainly was a genius.

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