Copyrights 1 Introduction

When one looks at images of geodesic domes, like that pictured in Figure I.11, it is impossible not to be struck by their artistic beauty. Geodesic domes are formed from an array of mechanical struts that create a network of triangular elements. These triangular elements have tremendous functional value to the structure, distributing stress across the structure in a way that gives it great strength. Indeed, this property makes geodesic domes the only man-made structures that get proportionally stronger as they increase in size.

At the same time, this network of triangular elements folds over on itself to form an almost spherical structure that is remarkably pleasing to the eye. Geodesic domes have the unusual characteristic that they simultaneously look like naturally occurring and manmade structures; while the structure as a whole resembles honeycombs that appear in nature, the mechanical engineering of the structure is somehow always evident. In this way, geodesic domes are a prime realization of perhaps the most fundamental goal of architecture—to combine utility and artistry in a manmade construction.

When the C60 molecule was discovered in the mid-1980s, it was inevitable that the same type of observation would be made. Here was a structure created by nature that somehow also looked as though it had been engineered. The christening of this structure as "buckminsterfullerene" was effective as an

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