On April 18, 1979, R. Buckminster Fuller holds up a Tensegrity sphere.

CARBONDALE — In 1969, designer, scientist, developer, writer and Southern Illinois University Carbondale professor Buckminster Fuller published his manifesto for a design revolution. Now, 50 years later, Fuller’s work will be recognized as part of the Charles D. Tenney Lecture series at SIU.

The three-day event is set for Feb. 5 to 7, and features unique presentations, interactive workshops and tours of the famed Buckminster Fuller Dome Home.

As the 2019 Charles D. Tenney lecturer, David McConville, chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, will open the event on Feb. 5 with a presentation focused on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Fuller’s book, “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.”

When Fuller first released this revolutionary book several generations ago, it greatly influenced societies thinking about the purpose and potential of humanity. Now, McConville is looking back at Fuller’s original vision and building an understanding of why that vision emerged in Carbondale, and how it could continue to change education in the future.

Buckminster Fuller is famous for many things, but one of the most prominent of all his inventions were his unique, geodesic domes. The Fuller Dome Home, located in Carbondale, represents Fuller’s interesting designs and stands as an important legacy of his work.

As part of the Charles D. Tenney lecture, special guest Kurt Przybilla will lead a hands-on workshop exploring the key concepts of Synergetics and Fuller’s philosophy behind his designs. Participants will build structural systems, geodesic domes, models of nanostructures and prototypes of their own designs. Tours of the famed Fuller Dome Home will also be available Feb. 6 and 7.

An inventor, writer, producer and educator, Przybilla has long been inspired by Fuller’s work. As co-creator of the Molecularium Project at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Przybilla has developed multiple games and toys to introduce young audiences to the world of atoms and molecules. His toy, Tetra Tops, the world’s first spinning top with more than one axis, gained national attention after it was featured in the New York Times, Popular Science, the Smithsonian Institute and more.

All events are free and open to the public, but due to limited workshop and tour space, participants must RSVP by contacting the University Honors Program at honors@siu.edu.

Here's the schedule:

Feb. 5

  • 7 p.m. An Invisible Revolution: Keynote presentation with David McConville at the SIU auditorium. Reception to follow in the International Lounge.

Feb. 6

  • 1-4 p.m. The Geometry of Thinking: Hands-on interdisciplinary workshop with Kurt Przybilla at Quigley Hall.
  • 5 p.m. Reception and viewing of Buckminster Fuller models and student workshop models at Quigley Hall.
  • Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Tours are available throughout the day, with each tour typically lasting one hour. Prior reservation required.

Feb. 7

  • 11 a.m. Beyond the Bubble: presentation with David McConville at the Communications building room 1116 on the SIU campus.
  • 4 p.m. Regenerating Earth: From Problems to Potential: Discussion with David McConville. Located in the Morris Library Guyon Auditorium, and co-sponsored by SIU Sustainability.
  • Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Tours are available throughout the day, with each tour typically lasting 1 hour. Prior reservation required.

The 2019 Charles D. Tenney Lecture is a collaborative effort of several organizations, including the General Student Fee, the University Honors Program, Mass Communication and Media Arts, SIU Sustainability, The Buckminster Fuller Dome Home NFP, the School of Architecture, SENSE RSO and the Honors Assembly RSO.

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