Buckminster Fuller
(1895 - 1983)
Died at age 88 Birthday: Jul 12 Sign: Cancer
Expelled from Harvard, not once, but twice for cutting classes. He also took a vow of silence for about a year.
Richard Buckminster Fuller created the geodesic dome in the 1940’s. He was a philosopher, designer, architect, artist, engineer, poet, entrepreneur, author, mathematician, teacher, inventor, and visionary. Fuller's ideas are considered by some to be so advanced that the world has not yet comprehended their value. Future generations may yet take heart: Fuller recorded his life in diary form every fifteen minutes for 68 years, starting in 1915.
Buckminster Fuller Quotes

  • “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”
  • “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty........ but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong”
  • “You can never learn less, you can only learn more.”
  • “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.”
  • “We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”
  • “Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.”
  • “Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”
  • “If you are the master be sometimes blind, if you are the servant be sometimes deaf.”
  • “I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented.”
  • “A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.”
  • “Faith is much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

Buckminster Fuller was honored by many institutions, receiving many awards including the RIBA Gold Medal in 1968, 47 honorary doctorates, and 28 patent invention awards, 28 books, and traveled the globe 57 times. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Worked simultaneously on plans for houses, cars, boats, games, television transmitters and geodesic domes

He never went beyond his freshman year of college.

At age 32, in 1927 the same year the movie Metropolis was premiered, he was bankrupt and jobless. It almost drove him to suicide following the death of his daughter. But he stopped and decided to live as his life would become an “experiment, to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”

He has also written about the relationship of math and mind between both Isaac Newton and the Albert Einstein.

The geodesic dome is a lightweight designed structure made up of interconnected tetrahedrons giving it a high strength-to-weight ratio

He collaborated with Isamu Noguchi on landscape projects. Isama Noguchi also designed close to twenty set designs from world renowned dancer Martha Graham.

The Henry Ford Museum acquired the Dymaxium House in 1991 and it took them eight years to clean and restore it. It is now on display at the Museum.

There are over 500,000 geodescic domes around the world.

He took a vow of silence for over a year and this is why: “I must really from this point on just stop talking 'til I learn what the meaning of meaning is -- what do I think and which words do I really wish to use? “

In 1983, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.Other recipients include Mies van der Rohe, Walt Disney, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Peter Drucker.

The John Denver song "What One Man Can Do" was dedicated to him.

He was often compared to Leonardo da Vinci and called "the planet's friendly genius.”

R. Buckminster Fuller “Thinks Out Loud”, Society of Typographic Arts, Chicago, Illinois, 1965

July 1, 1983: Died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California. He had been visiting his comatose wife in the hospital, and was apparently overcome with excitement after believing that she had squeezed his hand. Married for 66 years, both husband and wife were buried the same week.

His headstone bears the cryptic epitaph "Call Me Trimtab." The word refers to a tiny protuberance on a ship's rudder that, when moved even slightly, can change the course of a gigantic vessel.

After his death the full collection of his diary and notes weighs 45 tons, making Fuller's life "the most documented human life in history," according to Michael John Gorman, associate curator of Stanford's Buckminster Fuller Collection.