whats synergetics


Definition of Synergetics:

Synergetics is the system of holistic thinking which R. Buckminster Fuller introduced and began to formulate. Synergetics is multi-faceted: it involves geometric modeling, exploring inter-relationships in the facts of experience and the process of thinking. Synergetics endeavors to identify and understand the methods that Nature actually uses in coordinating Universe (both physically and metaphysically). Synergetics provides a method and a philosophy for problem-solving and design and therefore has applications in all areas of human endeavor.

Source: snec.synergeticists.org

Synergetics, in the broadest terms, is the study of spatial complexity, and as such is an inherently comprehensive discipline. ... Experience with synergetics encourages a new way of approaching and solving problems. Its emphasis on visual and spatial phenomena combined with Fuller's holistic approach fosters the kind of lateral thinking which so often leads to creative breakthroughs.
— Amy Edmondson, A Fuller Explanation, 1987

More information about Synergetics can be found in Buckminster Fuller's magnum opus Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, BFI's Synergetics resources, in the Synergetics section of the R. Buckminster Fuller FAQ, the book A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller by Amy Edmondson --- Full Text On-Line, and Kirby Urner's Synergetics on the Web.

Vector Equilibrium Shell Volume

Synergetics as defined by E.J. Applewhite

Synergetics is Fuller's name for the geometry he advanced based on the patterns of energy that he saw in nature.

For him, geometry was a laboratory science with the touch and feel of physical models--not rules out of a textbook. He started with models of the closest packing of spheres. From that basic starting point he derived triangles as the most economical relationship between events.

He did not start with Euclid's lines in the sand or Descartes' cubes and square XYZ-coordinates. Fuller felt that the old classic approaches did not describe the way nature actually behaves. For instance, Euclid's lines were thought to go off to infinity. Fuller says lines are vectors of energy and he rejected the notion that anything physical could be extended indefinitely.

Descartes cubes are unstable forms. For Fuller, the world is built of stable, finite structures. His triangular coordination depends on tetrahedral models. (A tetrahedron is a pyramid with a triangular base.) Four spheres close pack into a stable tetrahedron: good. Eight spheres stack into an unstable cube: bad. His geometry hinges on the tetrahedron, the simplest structural system within insideness and outsideness: he advances it as the most economical way to measure space and to account all physical (and metaphysical!) experience.

This is what he calls synergetics: an empirical mathematical system in which geometry and number mesh without fractions. It gains its validity not from classic abstractions but from the results of individual physical experience. His two-volume work"Synergetics" has the subtitle: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking.

E.J. Applewhite collaborated on the books Synergetics I and II with Buckminster Fuller. He recommends Kirby Urner's Synergetics on the Web for an excellent graphic introduction to Fuller's synergetic geometry, plus links to other sites describing synergetics--many with gorgeous color graphics.

Cosmic Fishing - An Account of writing Synergetics with Buckminster Fuller

COSMIC FISHING: An Account of writing Synergetics with Buckminster Fuller. by E.J. Applewhite. Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., New York, c1977 hardback.

E.J. Applewhite on Synergetics

In his efforts to clarify the meaning and importance of synergetics , E.J. Applewhite Jr. stands second to none -- except, of course, Bucky himself. What Ed says on synergetics is source material, and his contribution to the subject cannot be overstated.

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Synergetics Teaching Website by Kirby Urner

For a great overview of Synergetics, check out 'Synergetics on the Web' by Kirby Urner

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Synergetics and Einstein

Albert Einstein

Excerpts from R. Buckminster Fuller's book Cosmography

In his daring concept of universal evolution as constant motion, as put forth and written into (unwitting) poetry by Einstein, we have then the greatest conceptioning and greatest communication by a human being to other human beings not only in the 20th Century but possibly in any other of the centuries. Therefore I see that Einstein is certainly the great artist of the 20th Century. Einstein becomes the prototype scientist-artist of the not only the 20th Century but of the now looming 21st Century.*

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Synergetics - The Geometry of Thinking

Color sketch of the Jitterbug Transformation (1948)

"The difference between synergetics and conventional mathematics is that it is derived from experience and is always considerate of experience, whereas conventional mathematics is based upon 'axioms' that were imaginatively conceived and inconsiderate of information progressively harvested through microscope, telescopes, and electronic probings into the non-sensorially tunable ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum."

  —RBF to EJA, Somerset Club, Boston, 22 April 1971 From the Synergetics Dictionary

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Clinton's Equal Central Angle Conjecture

Click on the link below to read Clinton's Equal Central Angle Conjecture, a 9 page PDF paper on Goldberg polyhedra by BFI board member Joe Clinton"In 1937 Michael Goldberg introduced 'a class of multi-symetric polyhedra' consisting of twelve pentagons, eight quadrilaterals or four triangles and all additional faces being hexagons. Thus he introduced the fact that 'trihedral polyhedrea which posses the same number of hexagonal faces in addition to 12 (8, or 4) regularily and symmetrically disposed pentagons (quadrilaterals, or triangles) can be topologically different'"

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1 + 2 = 4 !

In May 1955, a group of students from The School of Design, North Carolina State College at Raleigh, produced a booklet entitled "An Introduction to the Energetic-Synergetic Geometry of R Buckminster Fuller." The booklet was"basically an attempt to illustrate the thought proceses and principles which have led to the development of geodesic structures." It would be wonderful to see the contents of the rest of the booklet but unfortunately this interesting cover piece is all that we have found so far.
» Click here for a bigger version

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Letter on Tensegrity from Buckminster Fuller to Bob Burkhardt

Drawings from Buckminster Fuller for R. Burkhardt letter

Revised for 2005 by Bob Burkhardt

Upon my completion of my initial reading of Buckminster Fuller's two Synergetics books
(Synergetics, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1975, and Synergetics 2, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1979), or perhaps in the middle of that reading, I conceived a great interest in tensegrity structures and the mathematics involved in designing them. Bucky's idea of building a dome big enough to cover an entire city had a certain fascination for me as well.

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The Development of Tensegrity Structures

Below please find a six page PDF document that details the Development of Tensegrity Structures. This overview had previously been included in theTensegritoy Toys produced by Design Science Toys Ltd
Development of Tensegrity Structures (PDF)

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Models from the R. Buckminster Fuller Archive

Eleven models from the Buckminster Fuller Institute

These and similar models were used by Fuller to demonstrate the concepts of "energetic-synergetic geometry" in his public lectures. Larger versions of these QTVR objects will be part of an upcoming exhibition based on the archive. Definitions of some terms coined by Fuller to describe the geometry used in these models may be found in the glossary. To search the contents of the Fuller archive at Stanford, see the Finding aid to the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, Stanford University Libraries. Copyright © by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
» Click here to view the models

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Tensegrity by R. Buckminster Fuller

The revolutionary architect-engineer's own patent revelation about his basic structurial discoveries

Architect, engineer and cosmologist R. Buckminster Fuller and [Following] three of his basic structures: Tensegrity mast, Geodesic dome, octet truss in the Fuller exhibition, Modern Museum, N.Y.
Note from Robert Gray:

This paper appeared in Portfolio and Art News Annual, No.4, 1961. In addition to this article there is an accompanying Introduction by John McHale.