Gerry Toomey is a geodesic dome consultant and journalist, based in Quebec, Canada. His specialty is customizing dome geometry to fit the intended use of the building. He believes conventional dome layouts, many originating in the 1950s and 1960s, are a good starting point for design, but fall short of making best use of materials and labour
Over the past six years, Gerry has provided dome-related advice and calculations to numerous individuals and construction firms, mostly in the United States. He has designed and built three small domes, one of which is his office and workshop. He has also made many models of domes and other polyhedra, using wood, steel, and plastic.
In the areas of geodesic design, spherical trigonometry, and computerized mathematical modelling, Gerry is self-taught. He has been an enthusiastic contributor to Google's Geodesic Help Group, the Domerama website, and the errata list for one of the most important books on domes: Hugh Kenner's Geodesic Math and How to Use It (reprinted by the University of California Press in 2003). The errata list, maintained by spaceframes and tensegrity expert Bob Burkhardt, can be found at http://bobwb.tripod.com/synergetics/hugh/index.html.
One drawback of most conventional dome layouts is the fact they don't have a flat base at cutoff points (truncations) other than the equator of the geodesic sphere. And in the case of odd-frequency domes, they don't even split into hemispheres. Gerry has used spherical trigonometry in Microsoft Excel to find and experiment with alternative dome designs that provide a level base at useful truncations, thus increasing the versatility of geodesic architecture.
Gerry has bachelor's degrees in philosophy and journalism, as well as university training in astronomy. He worked for many years on Canadian English-language news services, daily newspapers, and magazines as a reporter and science editor. Much of his freelance writing and editing in recent years has dealt with science and technology in developing countries, particularly research on health, water, and agriculture. He has had communications assignments with international agencies, private companies, and governments in more than 20 countries, mostly in Africa and Latin America. He has also taught short courses in science communications at the University of Illinois in the USA.