The Science of Sculpture


Friday, July 09, 2010

Don Ingber is a cell biologist from Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital. One day he saw a piece of modern sculpture, Kenneth Snelson's "Needle Tower" — and Eureka! — it inspired a scientific breakthrough. Produced by Lu Olkowski.

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Lu Olkowski

Comments [3]

Elizabeth Choy from Princeton, NJ

I have a very similar reaction to your piece as does Stephen, with a slightly different point of view, in that I used to work for Buckminster Fuller at his Philadelphia office in the years leading up to his death. Having trained as a classics major, only tangentially aware of Bucky's work, I learned from him and others there more well versed in tensegrity exactly what it was, how it existed, how it came to be discovered, and we were all aware of biological work that included tensegrity being studied around the scientific community at that time, both in matters of cell motility, positioning, and how that's accomplished, but motor or chemical means. Isn't clear by now there must be not a break but a blend between those two theories that would lead to a tensegrelicious conclusion, more appealing for both sides?

Jul. 14 2010 04:46 AM
Stephen from New York City

It was a very good piece with one exception. How can you "hang" a whole story on the subject of the "tensegrity," in this case regarding its application to understanding cell biology, but not mention the great R.Buckminster Fuller? Fuller coined the term "tensegrity" in the early 1950s and certainly deserved a mention here. (With the BP oil cataclysm taking place, a mention of Fuller might be useful, too, since it might inspire people to discover and read his wonderful little book, "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth" (1969) ISBN 080932461X).

My best regards,


Jul. 11 2010 11:57 AM
Eiko Fan from Havertown PA

Your Comment:*
Don Ingber mentions sculpture teacher's name in this radio piece who is also my favorite sculpture teacher.
I emailed Erwin the link. Erwin does sculptures that remind me of repetition of cells,too. I had him as my teacher 30 years ago I still email and visit his studio. I am glad to hear Erwin made a difference in a young man (Don Ingber)'s life and his important work. I really was excited to hear Erwin's name on your radio piece,Thank you.

Jul. 11 2010 08:12 AM

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