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May 25, 2006

Buckminster Fuller explains Einstein's theory of relativity in a telegram to Isamu Noguchi


In 1936 Noguchi, inspired like Fuller by Einstein's theory of relativity, worked on his first major public sculpture in Mexico.

It was a seventy-two-foot-long wall, part of which would be a figure of an Indian boy observing Einstein's equation for energy.

Noguchi forgot the exact equation and wired to Fuller for help.

Fuller sent back a telegram (above) explaining E=mc².

Yeah, I figured you'd want to me do that — here's the plain text.

    Einstein's formula determination individual specifics relativity reads quote energy equals mass times the speed of light squared unquote speed of light identical speed all radiation cosmic gamma x ultra violet infra red rays etcetera one hundred eighty six thousand miles per second which squared is top or perfect speed giving science a finite value for basic factor in motion universe stop speed of radiant energy being directional outward all directions expanding wave surface diametric polar speed away from self is twice speed in one direction and speed of volume increase is square of speed in one direction approximately thirty five billion volumetric miles per second stop formula is written quote letter e followed closely by equation mark followed by letter m followed by letter c followed closely by elevated small figure two symbol of squaring unquote only variable in formula is specific mass speed is a unit of rate which is an integrated ratio of both time and space and no greater rate of speed than that provided by its cause which is pure energy latent or radiant is attainable stop the formula therefore provides a unit and a rate of perfection to which the relative imperfection of inefficiency of energy release in radiant or confined direction of all temporal space phenomena may be compared by actual calculation stop significance stop specific quality of animates is control willful or otherwise of rate and direction energy release and application not only of self mechanism but of from self machine divided mechanisms and relativity of all animates and inanimates is potential of establishment through einstein formula


May 25, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Sorry, who was this "Bucky". Is he the Gustav Bucky or Buckminster Fuller. Can anyone clarify.


Posted by: Bernard | Dec 21, 2009 9:44:34 PM

Since I wrote the note above, I have learned that the exhibit in Mambo in Bologna is a watercolour by Elisabetta Benassi, more or less sreproduci8ng the telegram.
Does anyone know whether Noguchi ever made the sculpture, and if so where it can be seen - even on the web? It doesn't appear under his name here.

Posted by: Elizabeth Healy | Oct 23, 2009 3:39:15 PM

I have just seen what purports to be the original telegram in, of all places, the Modern Art Museum in Bologna, Italy, as part of their permanent collection. Language difficulties meant I could not get an explanation. Does anyone have one?

Posted by: Elizabeth Healy | Oct 19, 2009 1:07:22 PM

It's interesting how a complex, wonderful telegram like this, sort of reads like CRYPTIC SP*M we receive today.

Poetic in a very similar sense. :)


Posted by: Gabe | May 25, 2006 4:30:44 PM

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