Third Biennial Design Science Symposium at RISD: 11-13 Nov 2011

Nature, Geometry, and the Symmetry of Space: Tetrahedron Discovers Itself and Universe
Friday 11 November 2011, 8AM - 7PM
Saturday 12 November 2011, 8AM - 7PM
Sunday 13 November 2011, 8AM - 3PM
Photo from the Symposium on Synergetics and Morphology, Providence, RI, 2-4 November 2007
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center
20 N. Main St
Providence, RI 02906
Short Description:
The 2011 Biennial Design Science Symposium will explore Nature, Geometry, and the Symmetry of Space.
The Synergetics Collaborative and The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) will present the Third Biennial Design Science Symposium at RISD on 11-13 November 2011. This event will be a meeting of educators, makers and thinkers to address the theme of "Nature, Geometry, and the Symmetry of Space: Tetrahedron Discovers Itself and Universe". In addition, there will be a Design Science Exhibit & art show with participants' work opening on Nov 6 in the Waterman Gallery and a reception on Nov 11.

In one of Buckminster Fuller's most audacious claims he proposed that "Nature's Coordinate System" could be understood by investigating the closest packing of spheres and a complex of related geometrical structures. The theme of this year's Design Science Symposium at RISD will be to investigate that claim and the many variations of it that have developed over the 35 years since the publication of Fuller's ideas in his magnum opus, Synergetics.

Please join the Synergetics Collaborative, RISD/Brown faculty, students and others as we explore design, Nature, problem-solving, and understanding how our world can be made to work for 100% of humanity at this symposium in November 2011.
About 1917, I decided that nature did not have separate, independently operating departments of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, ethics, etc. Nature did not call a department heads' meeting when I threw a green apple into the pond, with the department heads having to make a decision about how to handle this biological encounter with chemistry's water and the unauthorized use of the physics department's waves. I decided that it didn't require a Ph.D. to discern that nature probably had only one department and only one coordinate, omnirational, mensuration system.

I determined then and there to seek out the comprehensive coordinate system employed by nature. The omnirational associating and disassociating of chemistry—always joining in whole low-order numbers, as for instance H2O and never HpiO—persuaded me that if I could discover nature's comprehensive coordination, it would prove to be omnirational despite academic geometry's fortuitous development and employment of transcendental irrational numbers and other "pure," nonexperimentally demonstrable, incommensurable integer relationships.

--- R. Buckminster Fuller, 410.01-411.23 Nature's Coordination

The initial self-and-other spherical associability produced first, associability; next, triangulation as structure; and then, tetrahedron as system.
--- R. Buckminster Fuller, 480.00-488.00 Tetrahedron Discovers Itself and Universe
Representative Symposium Topics:

Closest Packing of Spheres, Isotropic Vector Matrix (IVM), Vector Equilibrium (VE), Quanta Modules, Cosmic Hierarchy, Great Circles; Other models of "Nature's coordinate system"; Industrial design; ecological materials and solutions; design principles; biomimicry; cross-disciplinary innovation; geometry and its relationship to design principles and the natural world; work relating to the Design Science Approach of Buckminster Fuller and Arthur Loeb.


The registration fee is $250 (please pay with a check or cash at the door), $30 for students (RISD students & faculty enter at no charge but registration is required). Please fill out the on-line registration form. Please mail checks to Synergetics Collaborative; 240 Copley Road; Upper Darby, PA 19082-4016.


The tentative schedule for the 2011 Design Science Symposium is now available at

Art Show: 2011 Design Science Symposium Exhibit

The 2011 Design Science Symposium Exhibit will run from 6-13 November 2011 at the Waterman Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI, 02903 USA. To submit art work, please follow the instructions in the 2011 Design Science Symposium Exhibit: Call for Artists.

The Calendar for the Exhibit Follows:

Bio and Description Material Due     24 October 2011
Work Received24–28 October 2011
Exhibit Dates6–13 November 2011
Opening Reception11 November 2011
Removal of Work13 November 2011

Announcements of event highlights
International Participants
Information for international participants
The Biennial Design Science Symposia at RISD
The Synergetics Collaborative and The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have organized Biennial Design Science Symposia at RISD since 2007. These symposia explore the field of Design Science and provide an interactive meeting of makers, thinkers, practitioners and educators. We strive to keep the work of R. Buckminster Fuller current, relevant, and applied. Fuller's design approach as "comprehensive anticipatory design science" combines an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor and faithful reliance on nature's underlying principles. The first event 2007 was on the theme of "Synergetics and Morphology: Explorations into the Shapes of Nature" (click to see a video from that event). Two years ago the theme was "Design Science: Nature's Problem Solving Method". This year the tradition continues with an event focusing on the theme of "Nature, Geometry, and the Symmetry of Space".
About The Organizers
Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) was founded in 2002 to bring together a diverse group of people with an interest in Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics in face-to-face workshops, symposia, seminars, and other meetings to educate and support research and understanding of the many facets of Synergetics, its methods and principles.
Visit the Synergetics Collaborative on-line.
The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design uniquely integrates a natural history collection, a lending library of natural specimens and a studio environment. With its growing collection of more than 80,000 natural history objects, books, visual resources, microscopes and a digital work station, the Nature Lab serves as an invaluable research facility for the RISD community. In 2003, The Nature Lab accepted the Arthur Loeb Design Teaching Collection. This hands-on collection of hundreds of three-dimensional polyhedra and two-dimensional patterns inspires students and faculty to examine nature's fundamental responses to design problems.
Visit the Nature Lab online.

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