Symposium on Synergetics and Morphology: Explorations into the Shapes of Nature

Venue: Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Auditorium

Location: Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Event Date/Time: Jun 30, 2007
Report as Spam


The Synergetics Collaborative has teamed with the Philomorphs and The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab to present a two-day symposium on "Synergetics and Morphology: Explorations into the Shapes of Nature" at the RISD Auditorium on 2-4 Nov 2007. In addition to presenting an engaging program around the intriguing concept of "the Form of Nature", the event will include a reception on Friday 2 November and a dance performance on Saturday 3 November. The event will also feature an art exhibit on "Synergetics and Morphology" with the work of participants on display at the nearby Waterman Gallery and in the Nature Lab. The Arthur Loeb Design Science Teaching Collection, which now resides with the Nature Lab, will be highlighted during the event. The event will continue our efforts to build upon Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics legacy. It will also offer a reunion for Philomorphs. Finally, it will provide an opportunity to discuss and share diverse viewpoints among the Synergetics community, the Philomorphs, the RISD student and faculty communities, and other explorers of Form aboard SpaceShip Earth.

The symposium will appeal to a broad range of individuals who share a common interest in Morphology (the Art and Science of Form: Goethe is reported to be the first to study and define morphology), including artists, designers, naturalists, geometers, mathematicians, scientists, educators and students.

Representative Symposium Topics:
Presentations should touch on Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics and morphology. Representative topics include Synergetics, Arthur Loeb, the Arthur Loeb Design Science Teaching Collection, the Philomorphs, geometry and/or pattern in Nature, the form, shape, or structure of Nature, the forms, shapes, and structures in Nature. A relationship to Synergetics and/or Morphology should be central.

About The Sponsors
* Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) was founded in 2002 as an organization to bring together a diverse group of people with an interest in Buckminster Fuller's Synergetics in face-to-face workshops, symposia, seminars, and other meetings to educate and support research and understanding of the many facets of Synergetics, its methods and principles. Visit the Synergetics Collaborative on-line at
* Philomorphs, the "lovers of form", is an ad hoc group founded by Cyril Stanley Smith, Steven J. Gould, and Arthur Loeb, to provide a forum for those interested in form to share ideas in process or new thinking with other interested parties. Two memorable examples of presentations were: the structure and behavior of clusters of soap bubbles by Cyril Smith or the structural jumps in changes of snail evolution by Steven Gould. For many years, the Philomorphs were hosted by Arthur Loeb in his studio in Sever Hall and then in the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. The following quote by Cyril Stanley Smith in 1979 exemplifies the main thinking of the Philomorphs: "There seems to be emerging a new philosophy of structural hierarchy applicable to change biological, intellectual, esthetic or social." Philomorphs has been in hiatus for several years. We hope the event on "Synergetics and Morphology" will provide a reunion for Philomorphs' participants to rekindle their passion for discussing their work on Form.
* The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design uniquely integrates a natural history collection, a lending library of natural specimens and a studio environment. With its growing collection of more than 80,000 natural history objects, books, visual resources, microscopes and a digital work station, the Nature Lab serves as an invaluable research facility for the RISD community. In 2003, The Nature Lab accepted the Arthur Loeb Design Teaching Collection. This hands-on collection of hundreds of three-dimensional polygons and two-dimensional patterns inspires students and faculty to examine nature's fundamental responses to design problems.


Additional Information

Travel and Parking Directions
RISD Auditorium Travel Directions
The registration fee is $125 (includes lunch tickets for Sat & Sun, and the performance on Sat evening); $30 for students. RISD students enter at no charge but registration is required. Please fill out the on-line registration form. Registrations received after 15 October will be subject to a $25 late processing fee. At the door registrations will be subject to a $50 surcharge. Please mail checks to Synergetics Collaborative; 240 Copley Road; Upper Darby, PA 19082-4016.
Art Show
There will be space in the Waterman Gallery and The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab for exhibiting 2-D and 3-D pieces. Please request space by sending a note about your pieces including their dimensions to Unless the pieces are large, we hope to accept some submissions from all interested participants. If the space available is exceeded by the early submissions, we will need to select among a limited number of the larger pieces in a jurried process. Please request space by 30 September to allow time for the jury to notify participants about which pieces can be shown.
Poster Papers
There will be limited space for some participants to contribute Poster Papers. Please send requests to present a Poster Paper to
International Participants
Information for international participants