“Young man, you amaze me.”
That’s how Albert Einstein greeted Buckminster Fuller when the geniuses met in the 1920s. Einstein had just read the manuscript of Fuller’s first book, “Nine Chains to the Moon,” and asked to meet the young unknown whose chief distinction was that he’d been thrown out of Harvard not once, but twice.
The anecdote was reported by the Christian Science Monitor in a long article it published a few days after Fuller’s death in 1983. It came to mind when I was flipping through a back issue (July 7) of TIME recently and happened upon an article about Fuller.
The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is exhibiting his drawings, sketches, etc., by way of remembering him 25 years after his death. TIME acknowledges Fuller as “the famous advance man for the future” (Wikipedia refers to him as an architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, and visionary), but he was more than that.
In fact, it may be that the drawings and inventions were not Bucky Fuller’s greatest contribution. In a world beset by hubris, greed and aggression, Fuller was remarkable for his love for mankind and his commitment to peace.
“War,” he once declared, “is obsolete.”