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First email to Kenneth Snelson, Re: My website

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 10:13:13 -0400
From: Robert W Burkhardt <>
To: Kenneth Snelson
Subject: Re: My website

Hi Ken,

Thanks for retransmitting your message. You are right, I was very careless at the link you refer to ( I put together that "Synergetics Gallery" hastily. I think I did a little better in my press release for a tensegrity "obelisk" I built ( where I note in front of two links to pictures of your towers as follows:

"Ken Snelson has designed and assembled longer non-tapering versions of this diamond version of the obelisk. In those realizations it seems more appropriate to refer to it as a mast. The following are links to photos of two of those structures:"

I also am careful to give you credit in my book "A Practical Guide to Tensegrity Design" a copy of which I will send you if you give me a mailing address.

I have redrafted the caption in question with credit to you and will redraft it to your satisfaction. I am willing to insert credit at any other place in my website you think appropriate.

Now that I think, I guess it was Bucky who referred to a different structure as a "mast". Contemplating the structure I built gave me an experiential notion of what he was talking about as far as ephemeralization where he used his "mast" as an example. I think his point about ephemeralization is made much more simply and effectively with your structure than with the one he used (see Fig. 740.21 in Synergetics). I have changed all references to "mast" to "tower" in my caption.

I also think there is some hope for tensegrity domes at least with double-layer technologies. I was quite surprised at the rigidity of a couple low-frequency double-layer spheres I built.

Certainly I have to be a little naive to pursue the line of research I have. An NSF reviewer called the idea of building double-layer domes with identical-length struts naive until he realized I had. I have achieved a certain computational facility with tensegrity. I would like to come up with some useful structures, and I appreciate their aesthetically pleasing aspect as well.

I look forward to hearing from you further on this, and I deeply regret the inadvertent plagiarism.


Bob Burkhardt

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