In the early 1960s, Benjamin Gurule was an accomplished commercial designer and graphic artist. He had little knowledge or interest in issues relating to chemistry or quantum physics. One day, quite by accident, he began to play with cardboard paper, making three-dimensional models of classic geometric forms. He discovered he could make common geometric forms, such as a cube, a pyramid or an octagon, by interweaving paper strips into three-dimensional shells. What began as a playful construction of paper shells soon led to a passion. He was fascinated by the symmetries and internal logic inherent in the shells he was constructing. He sought corroboration for the insights revealed by his paper sculptures, insights that suggested broader, universal applications.
It soon became evident to Gurule that, as unbelievable as it sounded, he had stumbled upon a natural order in nature that had been hitherto overlooked. How could this be? Especially after hundreds of years of scientific discoveries and the attendant formulations of laws, formulas and correlations? It seemed incredible. Was he crazy? But yet his discoveries were empirically verifiable, a keystone of the scientific method.
Gurule petitioned for a patent from the United States Patent office. After studying his submission for several years, the patent office concurred that his ideas were indeed unique and original. He was granted a patent for his system of “geodesic structures” on June 24, 1965.