R. Buckminster Fuller - crazy science in fine style

R. Buckminster Fuller (a.k.a. Bucky a.k.a. the 20th century Leonardo Da Vinci) was an American environmentalist and an all round type of guy. He did mathematics, architecture, philosophy, engineering etc. In his scientific research Bucky was a bit eccentric, almost an artist.

He (re)discovered a remarkable deep principle of nature which he called the sixty degreeness of nature (as opposed to the average human designer's bias toward ninety degreeness). Put simply, Buckminster Fuller saw triangles everywhere he looked. He called it 'omnitriangulation'. Admittedly not a very attractive word but then again Bucky also coined 'synergy'.

This sixty degreeness is almost a principle of physics but not quite. Although it's based on solid geometry it's expression in nature is probably a bit too whimsical for it to be admitted into the realm of official physics. No big deal for Bucky because he really liked being unofficial.

But if it's right then it's right, so in a roundabout way Buckminster Fuller's work is now slowly entering 'official' science. In 1985 three chemists synthesized a new type of molecule that's structured like a football. Bucky’s theory had predicted these little balls. They were named buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs) to honor Bucky and to promote his works among chemists. The buckyballs even won the 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize.

The Jitterbug

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Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe - Whitney Museum

Check the Buckminster Fuller Institute for more crazy science.