Fuller, Buckminster

Fuller, (Richard) Buckminster

(1895–1983) inventor, designer, futurist; born in Milton, Mass. (great-nephew of Margaret Fuller). Leaving Harvard early, he largely educated himself while working at industrial jobs and serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I. One of the century's most original minds, he free-lanced his talents, solving problems of human shelter, nutrition, transportation, environmental pollution, and decreasing world resources, developing over 2,000 patents in the process. He wrote some 25 books, notably Utopia or Oblivion (1969) and Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969). A professor at Southern Illinois University from 1959 on, he became in his later decades a popular public lecturer, promoting a global strategy of seeking to do more with less through technology. His inventions include the 1927 Dymaxion House, the 1933 Dymaxion Car and, foremost, the 1947 geodesic dome. He has the distinction of having both his names used for a scientific entity, the "fullerene" (also known as a "buckyball"), a form of carbon whose molecule resembles his geodesic dome.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.