Buckminster Fuller Honored

United States Postal Service

Fifty years ago, R. Buckminster Fuller obtained the patent for his most famous invention – the geodesic dome, and next month the U.S. Postal Service will issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring the legendary American inventor, architect, engineer, designer, geometrician, cartographer and philosopher. Fuller’s papers are archived at Stanford University, where the first-day-of-issue ceremony will be held in the Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education, 485 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA, at 11 AM PT on Fuller’s birthday, July 12. The ceremony is free and open to the public. … In 1927, Fuller made a now-prophetic sketch of the total earth which depicted his concept for transporting cargo by air “over the pole” to Europe. He entitled the sketch “a one-town world.” In 1946, Fuller received a patent for another breakthrough invention: the Dymaxion Map, which depicted the entire planet on a single flat map without visible distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the continents. After 1947, the geodesic dome dominated Fuller’s life and career. Lightweight, cost-effective and easy to assemble, geodesic domes enclose more space without intrusive supporting columns than any other structure, efficiently distribute stress, and can withstand extremely harsh conditions. Based on Fuller’s “synergetic geometry,” his lifelong exploration of nature’s principles of design, the geodesic dome was the result of his revolutionary discoveries about balancing compression and tension forces in building. Fuller applied for a patent for the geodesic dome in 1951 and received it in 1954. Beginning in the late 1960s, Fuller was especially involved in creating World Game, a large-scale simulation and series of workshops he designed that used a large-scale Dymaxion Map to help humanity better understand, benefit from, and more efficiently utilize the world’s resources. After being spurned early in his career by the architecture and construction establishments, Fuller was later recognized with many major architectural, scientific, industrial, and design awards, both in the United States and abroad, and he received 47 honorary doctorate degrees. In 1983, shortly before his death, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, with a citation acknowledging that his “contributions as a geometrician, educator and architect-designer are benchmarks of accomplishment in their fields.” R. Buckminster Fuller died in Los Angeles on July 1, 1983.