2014 Presenters


Dayna Baumeister
Biomimic & Co-Founder of Biomimicry 3.8

Dr. Dayna Baumeister’s fascination with the natural world began with daily forays into the woods and mountains of Colorado, her childhood home. As an adult, nature has continued to inform her personal and professional endeavors. Dayna received a BS in marine biology from New College in Sarasota, Florida. After several years exploring the intricate relationships of coral reefs, she turned in her wetsuit and headed back to the mountains. She earned an MS in resource conservation and a PhD in organismic biology and ecology from The University of Montana in Missoula, specializing in the dynamics of positive interactions among animal and plant life.

With a background in biology, a devotion to applied natural history, and a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others, Dayna has worked in the field of biomimicry with business partner Janine Benyus since 1998 as a business catalyst, educator, researcher, and design consultant. Together they founded the Biomimicry Guild consulting practice, The Biomimicry Institute 501c3, and most recently, Biomimicry3.8, a B-Corp social enterprise that trains, certifies, and connects biomimicry professionals worldwide. In her role as Biologist at the Design Table, Dayna helped more than 100 companies consult the natural world for elegant and sustainable design solutions, including Nike, Interface, General Mills, Boeing, Herman-Miller, Kohler, Seventh Generation and Procter & Gamble. She is best known for her engaging ability to empower others to incorporate Life’s Principles and strategies into every aspect of their work.

Dayna is a natural systems thinker and brings a unique perspective to her work to help others see nature as model, measure, and mentor. To meet the growing demand for more professional training, in 2008, Dayna designed and taught the world’s first Biomimicry Professional Certification Program, a two-year master-level course for designers, business people, biologists, and engineers with participants from all over the globe, a program which she continues to teach. Graduates are applying biomimicry in their work in different settings and places including Fortune 500 corporations, the EPA, South Africa, Spain, Columbia, Mexico, Turkey, as well as the USA. As senior editor, Dayna compiled a decade of experience in biomimicry into a practical how-to guide ‘Biomimicry Resource Handbook: A Seed Bank of Knowledge and Best Practices’ (2011). All of this has helped fertilize the movement of biomimicry as a fresh and innovative practice and philosophy to meet the world’s sustainability challenges.




Christopher Zelov
Author & Film Maker

Christopher Zelov is a native of Philadelphia, and the founder of the Knossus Project, a Research and Development enterprise involved with creating custom artifacts in the realms of Educational Film, Book Publishing, and Green Design.

Some Key Projects produced over the years include: Ecological Design: Inventing the Future (film), Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier (Book), City21: Multiple Perspectives on Urban Futures (film), City21: The Search for the Second Enlightenment (Book), and Some Songs to the Stars (book and film with Ian McHarg). He recently taught a course at the AIA in Philadelphia called: ‘Inventing Eco-Futures’, based on his 20 years of cinematic exploring that is being turned into courseware.




Rosanne Somerson
Furniture Maker & Interim RISD president

Rosanne Somerson was born in Philadelphia, PA. She began her undergraduate degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in photography, but switched her focus, and received her BFA in Industrial Design in 1976. After graduation, Somerson worked as a correspondent for Fine Woodworking magazine. She also assisted with former professor and mentor Tage Frid’s three part book series ‘Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking’ for Taunton Press.

Between 1976 and 1985, Somerson taught with the Harvard Extension School, and joined the RISD faculty in 1985. From 1985-1995 she ran the MFA Graduate Program in Furniture Design and Industrial Design. In 1995, Somerson initiated the Furniture Design Department, and headed the department from 1995-2005, and 2007-2010. She took a break from the department head from 2005-2007 to serve as RISD’s Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, and currently serves as the school’s Provost.




Thomas Zung
Historian, Principal, Architect

A native of Shanghai, China Thomas T.K. Zung was a student of R. Buckminster Fuller. He later worked at Fuller’s Synergetics, Inc., where he designed an elongated geodesic dome in Cleveland, Ohio in 1968. Other projects include other geodesic domes, the Jitterbug sculpture, tensegrities, the Fly Eye’s dome and Fuller’s last invention, the Hang-It-All. He is currently president of the architectural firm Buckminster Fuller, Sadao, and Zung.

His recent book Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium (St. Martin’s Press, 2001) includes selections from Bucky’s many books, each with a new introduction by such notables Arthur C. Clarke, Steve Forbes, Calvin Tomkins, Martin Meyerson, Harold W. Kroto, Valerie Harper, Arthur L. Loeb, E. J. Applewhite, Allegra Fuller Snyder and others.




Richard Bresnahan
Master Ceramicist & Artist in Residence

Richard Bresnahan, artist-in-residence at St. John’s University in Minnesota since 1979, operates the largest wood fired ceramics kiln in North America. He combines his expertise in Japanese ceramics with his interest in the use of local materials and natural resources to create stunning ceramics and a program which is attracting international attention. Gerry Williams, Editor of Studio Potter, calls Bresnahan “one of the preeminent potters in contemporary American ceramics.” Bresnahan apprenticed in the mid-1970s to Nakazato Takashi Pottery in Japan, where the Nakazato family has been producing pottery for 13 generations.At the completion of his apprenticeship, he was named a “master potter” by his teacher, the son of a National Living Treasure of Japan.

Bresnahan’s training in both the U.S. and Japan enabled the Pottery Program to weave together regional indigenous materials and human resources with Pacific Rim pottery processes. This melding of cultures is embodied in construction and use of the largest wood-fired kiln in North America, a kiln primarily built with recycled materials. Unique in the world, the kiln is loosely modeled on Pacific Rim construction, but its design has evolved in terms of scale and types of firing so that it is truly one-of-a-kind. Composed of three chambers, it is 87 feet long. A kiln of this size enables forklifts to enter both the front and back and allows, for the first time in the U.S., the wood firing of large-scale sculptures. Richard has been the subject of a public television documentary produced by John Whitehead for Twin Cities Public Television in 1996 entitled Clay Wood Fire Spirit: The Pottery of Richard Bresnahan and Body of Clay, Soul of Fire, Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John’s Pottery by Matthew Welch in 2001.




Eric Goetz
Marine Transportation Designer & CTO Goetz Composites

Eric Goetz is a builder of sailing vessels used in the America’s Cup, owner of Goetz Custom Boats, and co-founder of the Resolute Racing Shells company. Eric has been known throughout his career as a leader in boatbuilding technology and was one of the first builders to use carbon fiber to increase stiffness and remove weight from racing sailing vessels. Goetz founded Goetz Custome Sail Boats Inc. in 1975 and has since set the standard for building state-of-the art composite boats.

What differentiates a Goetz boat from any other is the unerring attention to detail, whether in construction techniques or the quality of craftsmanship that is unsurpassed in the industry. Through every phase of every project, Goetz’s “no stone-unturned” philosophy is coupled with leading edge technology to produce the lightest, fastest, most durable yachts possible-impeccably finished to suit the purpose. Involvement at the highest competitive levels has required that Goetz constantly be on the leading edge of boat-building technology and continuously seeking new ways to build faster, stronger boats. Considerable effort is put into research and development; through ongoing experimentation and association with marine and aerospace engineering, Goetz has consistently improved its abilities to meet the most demanding design criteria.




Dennis Bartels
Exploratorium Executive Director

Dennis M. Bartels, an internationally known science education and policy expert, became Executive Director of the Exploratorium in 2006. He holds a PhD in Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University, and his work has received more than $28 million in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other sources. He is leading a historic capital project and a $300 million capital campaign to relocate the Exploratorium to Piers 15/17 on San Francisco’s famed waterfront. In 2009, he was appointed to the Education Working Group for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 2010, he was named to the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), which provides independent advice and guidance to the more than 20 federal agencies of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program.

Dr. Bartels has testified before committees of both the United States Senate and House of Representatives and before the full House Science Committee concerning the role of the NSF in K–12 science and math education. He’s served on the Advisory Committees of the NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate and the Environmental Research and Education Directorate. He has also been an invited guest and speaker about science and mathematics education in England, France, the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Brazil, and China. Dr. Bartels was elected an AAAS Fellow for his energetic leadership in systemic science education reform, informal science education, and research and development of innovative mathematics, science, and technology curricula. He is also an elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE).




Deborah Gist
R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

Deborah A. Gist, who taught and served directly in schools for more than a decade early in her career, began her service as the R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 1, 2009.

Since coming to Rhode Island, she has developed and published the state strategic plan, Transforming Education in Rhode Island, and she has visited every district to meet with students, teachers, school leaders, and community members.

Commissioner Gist has raised the bar for entry into teacher-preparation programs, ended seniority-based teacher assignments, and built partnerships with districts to turn around persistently low-achieving schools. Under her leadership, Rhode Island is evaluating all educators based in part on evidence of student growth and achievement and is implementing the internationally benchmarked Common Core State Standards.

In August 2010, the U.S. Department of Education selected Rhode Island as one of the winners of ‘Race to the Top’, which has brought $75 million to the state accelerate all Rhode Island schools toward greatness. In December 2011, Rhode Island received a $50-million Early Learning Challenge grant, becoming one of the first states to win two ‘Race to the Top’ grants.

From the outset, Commissioner Gist pledged that every decision she makes will be based on the best interest of students. Her goal is to close achievement gaps and to prepare all students for success in college, careers, and life.




Joe Clinton
Design Science Historian & Engineer

Married for fifty-one years to his wife Elberta, he is the proud father of three daughters and the doting “Papa” of two grandsons and six granddaughters, ranging in age from two to fifteen. Joseph is globally recognized for his association with R. Buckminster Fuller. He is President/CEO of PolyModular, Ltd., and Clinton International Design Consultants. He was the coordinator of Design Technology programs at Kean University for 14 years, Director of Engineering/Design Scientist with Spitz Inc. where he was responsible for the engineering of spherical Planetarium and Space Theater screens and Aerospace flight simulation equipment. He was co-founder of 3-D Structures, Inc., a leading design and manufacturer of Aerospace flight simulation equipment.

He is retired from a world leader in Visual Displays, a British firm, SEOS, Ltd., as a Design Scientist. He served on the Board of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the Advisory Board of RBF Dome, and one of the founders and Past President of Synergetics Collaborative a not for profit association of Synergeticists. He has published in leading journals and given workshops on Synergetics & Design Science, holds several patents and is an internationally recognized Design Scientist.




George Hart
Artist and Mathematician

George Hart is a sculptor who demonstrates how mathematics is cool and creative in ways you might not have expected. Whether he is slicing a bagel into two linked halves or leading hundreds of participants in an intricate geometric sculpture barn raising, he always finds original ways to share the beauty of mathematical thinking. An interdepartmental research professor at Stony Brook University, he holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Hart is an organizer of the annual Bridges Conference on mathematics and art and the editor for sculpture for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. His research explores innovative ways to use computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork, which has been exhibited widely around the world. Hart co-founded the Museum of Mathematics in New York City and developed its initial set of hands-on exhibits. He also makes videos that show the fun and creative sides of mathematics.




Gary Doskas
Author and Engineer

Gary Doskas graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec Canada in 1984. Has been working in the semiconductor industry for 27 years. Since April 2010, he has been researching (self-taught) structural shapes within a spherical geometric context. His book, ‘Sphere of Life VI: The Harmonic Relationships of Cones, Spheres, and Platonic Solids’, was published in Jan 2011.




Edward Popko
Architect, Retired

Edward Popko is a graduate of University of Detroit’s School of Architecture and has both Masters and PhD degrees from MIT. In the 1960’s, he was an apprentice in Buckminster Fuller’s office, Geometrics Inc., in Cambridge, MA, and authored Geodesics, a primer on geodesic domes. As a registered architect and Fulbright Scholar, he advised international development agencies in squatter settlement eradication and self-help low-income housing programs.

Later, he became Project Director of the Lab of Computer Graphics, Harvard Graduate School of Design. For the past 30 years, Ed has held various IBM positions in Computer Aided Design R&D for Architecture-Engineering-Construction. His recent book, DIVIDED SPHERES – Geodesics and the Orderly Subdivision of the Sphere, focuses on techniques and applications in STEAM. He is recently retired and lives with his wife, Geraldine, in Woodstock, NY.




Dick Esterle
Artist, Architect, Inventor

Dick Esterle is an an artist, architect, and the inventor of the Nobbly Wobbly ball, Klackeroo, Space Chips and the Amazing Geometry Machine. Early in his career, working for the artist Isamu Noguchi, his interest in a particular tensegrity model, gave rise to DPTM modeling and the Amazing Geometry Machine and led him into the world of toy design. He offers presentations and workshops about his particular approach to spatial patterning and their relationships.




Chris Kitrick

Chris Kitrick is an independent researcher focused on advancing geodesic topologies, particularly optimization methods and new design approaches. He found the first tessellation method that solves the l/s ratio limit problem and provided a comprehensive and unified tessellation approach for all three spherical classes. He worked for Buckminster Fuller in the late 70’s developing the pinecone dome, Synergetics 2, new tensegrities, and updating the Dymaxion map with a new computerized projection method. He has published in leading journals. Earned a BArch in 1982 and a MS in Structural engineering in 1983. Currently he is the Sr. Director at Qualcomm, Inc. responsible for mobile GPU architecture development.




Kavita Ramanan

Kavita Ramanan is a professor of Applied Mathematics and director of graduate studies at Brown University. Her research interests lie in the area of probability theory, stochastic processes and their applications. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, a recipient of the Erlang Prize of the INFORMS Applied Probability Society for outstanding contributions to applied probability, and the Stella Dafermos Prize and the Simon Ostrach Fellowship from Brown University. She has served as associate editor of several journals, including the Annals of Probability, Annals of Applied Probability, Mathematics of Operations Research, Queueing Systems and Stochastic Analysis and its Applications, and has also organized several international conferences in probability and applied mathematics. She has also held visiting positions in universities worldwide, including France, India and Israel.

Kavita Ramanan received her B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 1998. After working for several years as a Member of Technical Staff (MTS) in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, she moved back to academics in 2003, working first at the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, before joining the faculty of the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University in 2010.



Leftheris Pavlides-01

Leftheris Pavlides
Architect & Professor, Roger Williams University

Professor Eleftherios Pavlides received a Masters of architecture at the Yale School of Architecture in 1971 where he was assigned a Bauhaus exercise to make form exploiting the structural properties of material. The work he is presenting at the Fourth Biennial Design Science Symposium is the result of a private odyssey that he only recently made public when he was invited to present it at the at the National Museum of Mathematics, in New York City last summer. His Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania combines architectural and anthropological methodologies to examine inhabitant perceptions of architectural form. He has been practicing and teaching architecture since 1978 and in the last twenty years as Professor of Architecture at Roger Williams University.

Dr. Pavlides’ research measuring inhabitant perceptions of wind turbines in the landscape has been credited in helping advance Rhode Island’s 15% wind electricity goal and was recognized with a citation from the Rhode Island Legislature. In 2007 he organized the historic Wind Power Rhode Island conference, From Local to Global: The Rhode Island Model for Harnessing Wind Power Worldwide. In 2013 he hosted the international Environmental Design Research Association conference in Providence with the theme Healthy + Healing Places.




Don Briddell
Artist & Design Scientist

Don Briddell is an independent researcher into the nature of structure, Structural Skew Topology (SST), and Field Structure Theory (FST).

Formal education:

  • Pratt Institute, Industrial Design 1962-6
  • Peace Corps, Small Industry Development,
  • Ecuador 1966-9 Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy, Rishikesh, India 1970

SST is a new topology geometry of natural origins that builds form with fields composed of interacting loops. FST applies SST to reality enabling the energy and mass structures of natural physical world to be definitively explained. Because of the fractal nature of form, FST, can at the human scale of building, use only loops at to construct all natural forms. This unique form of architecture requires no non-loop elements, such as glue and fasteners, for cohesion, attachment or connectivity. Only loops are needed to create form, made possible by forming the loops into fields of interaction. SST reveals the fields responsible for the structure of both kinetic and static form.



CJ Fearnley

CJ Fearnley
Executive Director, Synergetics Collaborative

CJ Fearnley was an early leader in the adoption and implementation of Linux and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In 1993, he began introducing Linux to organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region through his leadership position at the Philadelphia Area Computer Society (PACS). He helped start the Philadelphia area Linux Users’ Group (PLUG). CJ founded a company, LinuxForce, a leading technology services provider specializing in the development, implementation, management and support of Linux-based systems, with a particular expertise in Debian GNU/Linux.

In addition, CJ Fearnley has applied his organizational and leadership talent to building Buckminster Fuller’s legacy. He started maintaining “The R. Buckminster Fuller FAQ” in 1994. In 2002 CJ started building the Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) as an organization to bring together people with an interest in Synergetics and its principles in workshops, symposia, seminars, and other meetings. CJ writes a blog called Syntropy and contributes to another blog Managing FOSS for Business Results.




Waldemar Bober

Dr. Waldemar Bober is an associated professor at the Division of Building Structures, Faculty of Architecture, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland. He has a Doctorate in the subject of multilayer formation of spatial structures (2003). Habilitation thesis on irregular structural grids (2012). For twenty five years he has been a designer of structural systems for different types of buildings. In teaching students he is specialized in design of modern systems structures theory. Since 1996 has been an active participant in international conferences of IASS (International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures). Since 2008 participant in meetings of Synergetics Collaborative. He gave a presentation at RISD in 2011.