R. Buckminster Fuller centenary celebration

by Alice Martinez
f you've ever seen a geodesic dome or heard the term "Spaceship Earth," then you have had at least some exposure to work the work of R. Buckminster Fuller. Better known as "Bucky" to his supporters, this month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of this unique man - architect, engineer, inventor, philosopher, poet and mathematician.
On July 14 - 16, Global Energy Network International (GENI) will host a series of events designed to give participants a direct experience of Bucky's work and contributions. GENI is dedicated to the creation of a world-wide energy grid, one of Bucky's key prescriptions for global prosperity [see Feb '94 issue of ET.]

A committed life

In 1927, at the age of 32 and on the brink of suicide, Fuller had a realization that set the course of the rest of his live. It struck him that his life belonged to the universe, not himself. He immediately dedicated his life "as experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity." He even referred to himself as "Guinea Pig B" (B for Bucky).
Over the next 56 years of his life, he steadfastly held to his purpose, becoming one of the world's first futurists and global thinkers. Fuller addressed himself to the largest questions: what it would take to "make the world work" - to provide food, shelter and energy for 100 percent of humanity. This global thinking led him to coin the terms "Spaceship Earth" and "One-Town World."
A unique thinker, he invented his own geometry and language of design. His Dymaxion Map is the first to accurately depict the earth on a flat surface without distortion. His most famous invention, the geodesic dome, emerged from his search for affordable housing for the world's masses. Indeed, it is the strongest, lightest, most cost-effective structure ever devised.
Although he never graduated from college, Fuller was awarded 47 honorary doctorates and more than 100 major awards. He wrote 28 books and consulted for world leaders like Indira Gandi and Pierre Trudeau. His picture was on the cover of Time magazine.
Altogether, a remarkable man and a remarkable life.

Schedule of events

To find out more about Bucky and his contributions, you are invited to attend the following events.

Opening Celebration: A multi-media theater presentation, with VIP guests who will discuss Bucky's influence on their personal lives, the world and our future. Held at UCSD Mandeville Auditorium, 7pm - 9:30pm. $25 per person.

World Games: Fuller's World Game is a serious exercise that led to many of his conclusions about world dynamics. Played by about 100 participants on an auditorium-sized map of the world, each person represents one percent of the world's population. Over a four-hour period, the players solve problems to make the world work by negotiating with other players representing countries, corporate and industrial powers, etc. Two games will be held on July 15 and two on July 16, at SDSU Peterson Gymnasium. A special student world game will be held on July 13 at UCSD. $50 per person.

Buckminster Fuller Film Festival: Held on July 15 and 16 at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater, these film viewings are free and open to everyone. Show times are: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, 4pm, 5:30pm.
"Bucky for Kids"

Children's Festival: The Festival is designed to stimulate young minds with a number of hands-on activities related to Fuller's work, including construction of geometric models and Dymaxion maps. The Festival will take place on July 15 and 16 from 10am - 6pm on the lawn area just north of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. This event is free.

The Dymaxion Car: This one remaining example of Fuller's three-wheeled car is extremely light weight and fuel efficient. With sleek, rounded contours, it and can literally pivot around its front wheels. Frankly, it looks like something out of Buck Rogers; the magnitude of Fuller's creative design really comes home when you view it next to the Model A's and T's of the same era! The Dymaxion Car will be displayed in front of the San Diego Auto Museum in Balboa Park, July 15 and 17, from 10am - 6pm. This event is free.

Seminars and discussions: Ten seminars and discussion sessions will be held on July 15 and 16 at National University. They will examine Fuller's work as they apply to architecture, science, business and the future. $50 per day per person.

Registration: For more information, or to register for the paid events, call GENI at (619) 595-0139 or Fax (619) 595-0403. A special package, including entry to all events, is also available for $175 (before 7/13) or $200 (after 7/13).

Alice Martinez is an environmental reporter, computer specialist, and San Diego Earth Day volunteer.