Or, when is an artist a mathematician? If one answer is, "When he crosses paths with R. Buckminster Fuller," you're on the right track!
Today's subject, Kenneth Snelson, a fellow who has proposed -- and built -- new physical-conceptual models of the atom and appears to be the very first man to set up a tensegrity tower, an impossible-looking object that stands tall -- on its own bootstraps. Or tension cables. Have a look!
(I could swear at one time I read the University of Hawaii had an AM radio tower built on this model, but I'm not finding it. Once windload is taken into account, such a structure uses up most of its strength holding up its own weight -- that's the design "trick" to it -- but that's all a tower has to do for an AM station: it's really just a fat piece of wire.)
2 weeks ago