Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Part 2: Jitterbugging through SpaceTime

    “I live on Earth at present, and I do not know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing – a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe. ”

    R. Buckminster Fuller, quoted by Andreas Bjerve in Geometry of the Ancients

    Bucky Fuller, the eccentric engineer, geometrician and universal design theorist, was born a century after Ralph Waldo Emerson, who we encountered before. Like Emerson, he felt personally connected to the universe and spent his career figuring out how that was possible. His theory of omniversal design, expounded in his two-volume tome Synergetics, describes how energy, space, and matter all relate to form energetic geometric structures that elaborate endlessly on the basic unit of space, the tetrahedron. I don't recommend you curl up with this book unless you are supremely curious. It isn't an easy read.

    Fuller's key concept, say many, is his description of a geometric shape he said lay at the heart of many natural structures, a shape he called vector equilibrium. You can build a model of it out of toothpicks; it's pretty simple. One version of it oscillates, jitterbugging between an octahedron and a cuboctahedron, its energy vectors are always in balance (hence its name). Its faces rotate around four axes that meet at its empty center. Some nuclear physicists claim that it models the configuration of atomic forces and believe that this geometry may be at the heart of every particle in the universe, and that in fact what we call matter is only geometric configurations of energy.

  • “Remember that matter is made up of 99.9 percent space. Quantum field theory states that the structure of spacetime itself, at the extremely small level, vibrates with tremendous intensity. If we were to extract even a small percentage of all the energy held within the vibrations present in the space inside your little finger, it would represent enough energy to supply the world’s needs for hundreds of years."

    ~Theoretical physicist Nassim Haramein

    If matter is a consequence of the geometry of space-time, it means we are pure energy that just happens to take the form of elements, molecules, minerals, rivers, cabbages and kings. People who think about these things say that the deep structure of the vacuum of space is a microfabric of seething wormholes that here and there nucleate into protons. The energy packed into each one generates its mass. So we are talking about lots of energy here.

    So where does that seething energy come from? Maybe that's where black holes come in. Black holes can be really big, and there may be one at the center of every galaxy, plus others scattered about. Matter sucked into a black hole doesn't vanish; we just can't see it anymore. When it passes through to the other side of space-time, it becomes highly compressed. Exiting from the black hole on "the other side," it can expand and in relaxing releases its energy at a very tiny scale. That seething energy jitterbugs out through quantum wormholes to give birth to protons and other particles on our side of things.

    So, the matter that vanishes in black holes is born again. Seemingly out of nothing, deep in space, and conserving mass and energy to boot. Awesome.

    Isn't astrophysical geometry fun? Don't go away, because it gets really interesting.

    @image 1: A greatly enlarged frame from an animation loop that shows a rotating 3-D holographic portrait of R. Buckminster Fuller, produced by Mark Diamond at a photo shoot at Harvard in 1977.
    @image 2: Diagram of the vector equilibrium structure (gold), shown with toroidal energy flow pattern (purple) that it generates. Working models are available. This one, constructed with welded stainless steel washers and wire, was built by Dennis Dreher, who worked with Bucky Fuller and designed the hinge that makes this thing swing. (Be sure to watch the videos.) Then Bucky patented that hinge. But that's another (rather long) story.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.