It is believed that unique talents appear once every 100 years. Born at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Richard Fuller was probably the “intermediate” or “complementary” genius of two centuries. In his life, almost everything was not according to the rules. Noticing this, he began to go not on trodden paths from a particular moment but across deliberately. It was then, as it turned out, that he lay his way to success and recognition.
The name of this American architect and engineer is not well known in wide circles. Still, his achievements are awe-inspiring: Fuller received 25 American patents and many honorary doctoral degrees, was the winner of 47 international and American awards in the field of architecture, design, engineering, fine arts, and literature. He is the recipient of the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects. One of the modifications of carbon with the atomic structure predicted by him (fullerenes) is named in his honor.
It is believed that most of his projects are just about to be realized. And although at the end of the journey, Richard Buckminster Fuller received full recognition from the international scientific community, the whole life of this amazing man can be presented as a refutation of well-known truths.
A scientist must receive a decent education
Well, what can you say? He tried. After graduating from Milton Academy – a very prestigious high school, Young Richard Fuller entered Harvard University but was expelled. And twice: the first cut – for a loud revelry with a troupe of dancers, and the second time, already finally – with the wording “for irresponsibility and lack of interest.”
The most fruitful years are youth
Richard Fuller brilliantly refuted the sad truth for many. The fact is that until the age of 32, his life was a fine example of wasting time and energy. The future scientist managed to be: a mechanic in a factory, a worker in a meat processing plant, a radio operator in the fleet, an unsuccessful businessman. Of course, he did not lie on the stove until he was 33, like one famous epic hero, but he made his significant discoveries and achievements at a much more mature age.
You can’t change your life in an instant
It turns out – you can, only at a very high price. In 1927, Richard Fuller’s life came to an absolute dead end: bankrupt, without work, and without clear plans, he lived in cheap furnished rooms in Chicago.
Alexander, his beloved daughter, died of pneumonia, and he blamed only himself for this. As a result, alcoholism and attempted suicide. However, at the last moment, he was visited by an idea that saved the future thinker from death and radically changed his whole life.
You can’t make all humanity happy
Richard Fuller is one of the few people who, nevertheless, even tried to do this. The idea that came to him at the most challenging moment in his life, he later formulated as follows: “See what one single person can do for the benefit of the world and all mankind.” For this, he began his career as an engineer and inventor.
Renewable energy sources projects for housing and vehicles that will be more convenient, economical, and can significantly facilitate the existence of all people on earth – these are projects that can be considered utopian, became the goal of his life.
You can’t experiment on yourself
All his life, Richard Fuller considered one giant, global experiment. As a true scientist, he kept a journal of this study. Moreover, this part of his activity is incomparable in terms of labor intensity with anything. It seems that there are no analogs in history. For 63 years: from 1920 to 1983 – that is, until his death, the scientist kept a detailed record of the events taking place with him every 15 minutes!
He called this chronicle “Dymaxion Chronofiles” and brought in all his ideas, drawings, pasted newspaper clippings. This work is a 270-foot (80 m) stack of notebooks and scrapbooks. It is believed to be the most documented human life in history.
Need to sleep at night
This rule is not for real geniuses! Fuller made a study of polyphasic sleep as part of an experiment on himself. It is also called “the dream of geniuses” or “wolf dream.” The entire day is divided into several segments and alternates between short periods of sleep and wakefulness.
It is believed that this is how Leonardo da Vinci slept and that animals still practice this kind of sleep. Fuller’s experiment is considered the longest documented: he lived like this for two years (in total, sleep took him only 2 hours a day).
At the same time, the doctors confirmed his excellent health. He ended this regime because his “schedule was contrary to the schedule of his companions, who insisted on sleeping like normal people.”
Cities cannot fly
One of the most ambitious yet unfulfilled ideas of Fuller was the “Ninth Heaven” project. According to his calculations, a vast sphere, designed on the principle of a geodesic dome, can levitate itself (with slight heating of the air inside) and lift a sufficiently large load.
Such a structure can become the basis for real flying cities. Thanks to this project, many consider Fuller a utopian, and many – a scientist ahead of his time.
I want to end this article with a statement by Richard Fuller, which he made in the prime of his strength and creative activity (the scientist died at the age of 88):
“I lived for 70 years. This is 600 thousand hours. Of these 200 thousand I slept, I spent 100 thousand to eat, drink, restore my health, 200 thousand hours I studied and earned a living. Of the remaining – 60 thousand hours I spent on the road. The rest – the time I could have freely – was about 40 thousand hours, or just 1.5 hours a day! Now, if you want, you can go back to your TV.”