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The Art and Science of Origami

From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Art and Science of Origami

Daniels Pavilion

Dec 7, 10:00am
Daniels Pavilion 10:00am
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From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes:
The Art and Science of Origami

Part of The Baker Museum Lecture Series

Robert J. Lang

The last decade of this past century has been witness to a revolution in the development and application of mathematical techniques to origami, the centuries-old Japanese art of paper folding. The techniques used in mathematical origami design range from the obscure to the highly approachable. In this talk, Robert Lang describes how geometric concepts led to the solution of a broad class of origami folding problems — specifically, the problem of efficiently folding a shape with an arbitrary number and arrangement of flaps, and along the way, enabled origami designs of mind-blowing complexity and realism, some of which you’ll see, too. The algorithms and theorems of origami design have shed light on long-standing mathematical questions and have solved practical engineering problems. Lang will discuss examples of how origami has enabled safer airbags, space telescopes and more.

This 40-50 minute lecture details origami art and its connections to mathematics, science and technology.

Robert Lang

Robert J. Lang

Robert J. Lang is recognized as one of the foremost origami artists in the world as well as a pioneer in computational origami and the development of formal design algorithms for folding. With a Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech, he has, during the course of work at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spectra Diode Laboratories, and JDS Uniphase, authored or co-authored over 100 papers and 50 patents in lasers and optoelectronics as well as authoring, co-authoring and editing 16 books on origami. He is a full-time artist and consultant on origami and its applications to engineering problems but keeps his toes in the world of lasers and served as the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics from 2007-10. He received Caltech’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, in 2009 and was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013.


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