Buckminster Fuller – With His Mind and His Wit – Changed the World

Some of His Claim To Fame

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983 was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

R. Buckminster Fuller

R. Buckminster Fuller

Fuller published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, including the widely known geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres.

Buckminster Fuller was the second president of Mensa from 1974 to 1983.

Guinea Pig B

At age 32, Bucky decided to experiment with himself and see what one person could do for humankind. He named himself Guinea Pig B and committed himself to changing the world.

When he started this self-experiment, he had no reputation (either negative or positive). He had no money and was even unemployed, with a wife and young child to support. The couples first child had just died, leaving only the younger sister. Add to that all the alcohol he was consuming.

It didn’t look good for him, obviously. He was determined to let go of his past, however, and forge ahead with his try. He asked himself, “What can one person do to change the world?” For the following 56years he dedicated himself to that question and its answer.

Architect and More

He became and architect but also an inventor, author and leader. He wrote his books, received 44 honorary degrees, registered 25 patents, and literally changed the way human beings look at themselves. (The above several paragraphs were suggested by Pam Grout in her book entitled: E2: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.)

Geodesic Dome Model

Geodesic Dome Model

Watches and Sleep

Fuller was a frequent flier, often crossing time zones. He famously wore three watches; one for the current zone, one for the zone he had departed, and one for the zone he was going to.

Fuller also noted that a single sheet of newsprint, inserted over a shirt and under a suit jacket, provided completely effective heat insulation during long flights.

He experimented with polyphasic sleep, which he called Dymaxion sleep. In 1943, he told Time Magazine that he had slept only two hours a day for two years. He quit the schedule because it conflicted with his business associates’ sleep habits, but stated that Dymaxion sleep could help the United States win World War II.

Fuller documented his life copiously from 1915 to 1983, approximately 270 feet (82 m) of papers in a collection called the Dymaxion Chronofile. He also kept copies of all incoming and outgoing correspondence. The enormous Fuller Collection is currently housed at Stanford University.

“If somebody kept a very accurate record of a human being, going through the era from the Gay 90s, from a very different kind of world through the turn of the century—as far into the twentieth century as you might live. I decided to make myself a good case history of such a human being and it meant that I could not be judge of what was valid to put in or not. I must put everything in, so I started a very rigorous record.”

In his youth, Fuller experimented with several ways of presenting himself: R. B. Fuller, Buckminster Fuller, but as an adult finally settled

on R. Buckminster Fuller (the “R” stands for Richard), and signed his letters as such. However, he preferred to be addressed as simply “Bucky”.

Varied Legacy

An allotrope of carbon, fullerene—and a particular molecule of that allotrope C60 (buckminsterfullerene or buckyball) has been named after him. The Buckminsterfullerene molecule, which consists of 60 carbon atoms, very closely resembles a spherical version of Fuller’s geodesic dome. The 1996 Nobel prize in chemistry was given to Kroto, Curl, and Smalley for their discovery of the fullerene.

He is quoted in the lyric of “The Tower Of Babble” in the musical “Godspell:” “Man is a complex of patterns and processes.”

Dymaxion House

Dymaxion House

On July 12, 2004, the United States Post Office released a new commemorative stamp honoring R. Buckminster Fuller on the 50th anniversary of his patent for the geodesic dome and by the occasion of his 109th birthday.

Fuller was the subject of two documentary films: The World of Buckminster Fuller (1971) and Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud (1996). Additionally, filmmaker Sam Green and the band collaborated on a 2012 “live documentary” about Fuller, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller.

In June 2008, the Whitney Museum of American Art presented “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe”, the most comprehensive retrospective to date of his work and ideas. The exhibition traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 2009. It presented a combination of models, sketches, and other artifacts, representing six decades of the artist’s integrated approach to housing, transportation, communication, and cartography. It also featured the extensive connections with Chicago from his years spent living, teaching, and working in the city.

In 2009 Noel Murphy wrote and performed the one-man show Buckminster Fuller LIVE! and then later on in 2010 Murphy directed the documentary film, The Last Dymaxion: Buckminster Fuller’s Dream Restored.

In 2012, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted “The Utopian Impulse” – a show about Buckminster Fuller’s influence in the Bay Area. Featured were concepts, inventions and designs for creating “free energy” from natural forces, and for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

How about a Self-Experiment for Yourself?

See what you can do to change the world for the better by dedicating your life that idea and accomplishment. Notice, I did give you a specific direction or assignment. That’s for your to choose. But if Bucky Fuller could start from nothing and do what he did, think what you can do. Get to it.

Additional Source: Wikipedia.org (Please donate to this fine resource.)


First Woman In US To Receive Medical Degree – Elizabeth Blackwell Changed The World

The First

Elizabeth Blackwell, February 3, 1821 – May 31, 1910, was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. She was the first openly identified woman to graduate from medical school, a pioneer in promoting the education of women in medicine in the United States, and a social and moral reformer in both the United States and in England. Her sister Emily was the third woman in the US to get a medical degree.(Women disguised as man may have graduated prior to Blackwell.)

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

Moved To America

Elizabeth was eleven years old when the family sailed for New York in August 1832. Her father set up the Congress Sugar Refinery in New York City after they settled in. He had been a successful sugar merchant in England which allowed his family the luxury of moving to the US.


In 1844 Blackwell procured a teaching job that paid $400 per year in Henderson, Kentucky. Although she was pleased with her pupils, she found the accommodations and schoolhouse lacking.

What disturbed her most was that this was her first real encounter with the realities of slavery. She ultimately found Henderson to be absurd and boring, the people to be simple and petty, and the whole situation, all in all intolerable. She returned to her previous city only half a year later, resolved to find a more stimulating means of spending her life.

Show Me No Medical Books

The idea to pursue medicine was first planted in Blackwell’s head by a friend in Cincinnati who was dying of a painful disease. This friend expressed the opinion that a female physician would have made her treatment much more comfortable. Blackwell also felt that women would be better doctors because of their motherly instincts.

At first, Blackwell was repulsed by the idea of a medical career. At the time, she “hated everything connected with the body, and could not bear the sight of a medical book”. Another influence on her decision to pursue medicine was the connotation of “female physician” at the time.

Abortionists were known as “female physicians”, a name Blackwell found degrading to what a female physician could potentially achieve. Last but not least, part of Blackwell’s decision to become a doctor was due to the fact that she yearned to live an unattached life, independent of a man and the chains of matrimony.

Accident By Unanimous Vote

In October 1847, Blackwell was accepted as a medical student by Geneva Medical College, now part of Upstate Medical University, located in upstate New York. Her acceptance was a near-accident. The dean and faculty, usually responsible for evaluating an applicant for matriculation, were not able to make a decision due to the special nature of Blackwell’s case.

They put the issue up to vote by the 150 male students of the class with the stipulation that if one student objected, Blackwell would be turned away. The young men thought this request was so ludicrous that they believed it to be a joke, and responding accordingly, voted unanimously to accept her.

So, World Change Began

Blackwell had an enormous impact on the class. Her presence turned a group of boisterous young men into well-behaved gentlemen. Whereas before, there was so much confusion and chaos in the lecture hall that the lecture itself was barely audible, with Blackwell’s arrival, the male students sat quietly and listened attentively to lecture.

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to achieve a medical degree in the United States. The local press reported her graduation favorably, and when the dean, Dr. Charles Lee, conferred her degree, he stood up and bowed to her.


Her greatest period of reform activity was after her retirement from the medical profession, from 1880-1895. Blackwell was interested in a great number of reform movements – mainly moral reform, sexual purity, hygiene, and medical education, but also preventative medicine, sanitation, eugenics, family planning, women’s rights, associationism, Christian socialism, medical ethics, and anti-vivisection – none of which ever came to real fruition.


She believed that the Christian morality ought to play as large a role as scientific inquiry in medicine, and that medical schools ought to instruct students in this basic truth. She also was anti-materialist and did not believe in inoculation, vaccines, or germ theory, instead subscribing to more spiritual healing methods. She believed that disease came from moral impurity, not from microbes.

It Was A Big Deal

In Elizabeth Blackwell’s time it was a super significant achievement to become a graduated physician as a woman. That alone changed the world. But she did not stop there. Elizabeth went on to move the paradigm of what women stood for and what they could work toward. What are you working toward in your life?

Source: Wikipedia.org (Please donate to this fine resource.)

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Neutrons and Fermions – Enrico Fermi Changed the World

Enrico Fermi, September 29, 1901 – November 28, 1954, was an Italian theoretical and experimental physicist, best known for his work on the development of Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics.

Enrico Fermi

Enrico Fermi

Along with Robert Oppenheimer, he is referred to as “the father of the atomic bomb”. He held several patents related to the use of nuclear power, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity and the discovery of transuranic elements. Throughout his life Fermi was widely regarded as one of the very few physicists who excelled both theoretically and experimentally.


Fermi received numerous awards in recognition of his achievements, including the Matteucci Medal in 1926, the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1938, the Hughes Medal in 1942, the Franklin Medal in 1947, and the Rumford Prize in 1953. He was awarded the Medal for Merit in 1946 for his contribution to the Manhattan Project. In 1999, Time named Fermi on its list of the top 100 persons of the twentieth century.

Fermi was widely regarded as an unusual case of a 20th-century physicist who excelled both theoretically and experimentally. The historian of physics, C. P. Snow, wrote that “if Fermi had been born a few years earlier, one could well imagine him discovering Rutherford’s atomic nucleus, and then developing Bohr’s theory of the hydrogen atom. If this sounds like hyperbole, anything about Fermi is likely to sound like hyperbole”.

Fermi was known as an inspiring teacher, and was noted for his attention to detail, simplicity, and careful preparation of his lectures. Later, his lecture notes were transcribed into books. His papers and notebooks are today in the University of Chicago.

Fermi’s ability and success stemmed as much from his appraisal of the art of the possible, as from his innate skill and intelligence. He disliked complicated theories, and while he had great mathematical ability, he would never use it when the job could be done much more simply. He was famous for getting quick and accurate answers to problems that would stump other people. Later on, his method of getting approximate and quick answers through back-of-the-envelope calculations became informally known as the “Fermi method”.

Some of His Contributions

Fermi’s first major contribution was to statistical mechanics. After Wolfgang Pauli announced his exclusion principle in 1925, Fermi followed with a paper in which he applied the principle to an ideal gas, employing a statistical formulation now known as Fermi–Dirac statistics. Today, particles that obey the exclusion principle are called “fermions”. Later Pauli postulated the existence of an invisible particle with no charge that was emitted at the same time an electron was emitted during beta decay in order to satisfy the law of conservation of energy.

Fermi took up this idea, developing a model that incorporated the postulated particle, which Fermi named the “neutrino”. His theory, later referred to as Fermi’s interaction and still later as the theory of the weak interaction, described one of the four forces of nature. Through experiments inducing radioactivity with recently discovered neutrons, Fermi discovered that slow neutrons were more easily captured than fast ones, and developed a diffusion equation to describe this, which became known as the Fermi age equation. He bombarded thorium and uranium with slow neutrons, and concluded that he had created new elements, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize, but the new elements were subsequently revealed to be fission products.

What Are You Doing for Your World?

You may not be an experimental physicist. But you are one person and you can change the world. You have got to get to it, however. Saying you want to change the world will not change the world. You gotta get off your cushion and start exercising your Universe-given abilities and talents and dedication. No one changes the world by himself or herself. But all it takes is one determined person to shift the paradigm. Get to it.

Source: Wikipedia.org (Please donate to this fine resource.)

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