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art, math, uncategorized

the art of folding

“More and more, we find that our mathematical research and artistic projects converge, with the artistic side inspiring the mathematical side and vice versa.”

— Erik Demaine

I just heard that Erik Demaine currently has an art exhibit in NYC. It is mathy and artsy and quirky and everything that I love. Not to mention that Mr. Demaine is a hero of mine.

Needless to say, I am determined to go see it.

all of the above come from http://www.erikdemaine.org

Don’t know who Erik Demaine is? He’s only a brilliant computer scientist who studies the mathematics of origami, the youngest ever tenured professor at MIT, a MacArthur fellow, and a total boss in general. (more under the cut)

This past summer, I got to see a lecture by him at the summer program I went to. And I found out that despite all his genius, he’s a really down-to-earth, friendly guy. After his lecture, a few of my friends and I went up to talk to him. He took out a huge origami hyperbolic paraboloid (“hypar”), held it in his hand as if it were a beak, and “attacked” us with his bird-monster-hand saying “nom nom nom!”.

Mr. Demaine and his dad. (click to view source)

Coolest. Person. Ever.

Anyway, at one point during his lecture, he showed us photos of gorgeous polyhedra made out of hypars. I thought they were so awesome that I got obsessed with folding them.

In the days directly after seeing his presentation, I made a hypar cube:

a hypar cube made out of origami paper

And a hypar star:

a hypar star

I’m currently working on a hypar icosahedron.

The individual hypars are pretty easy to make. You just take a square sheet of paper and fold it like so:

(click to see full size), diagram courtesy of http://erikdemaine.org/hypar/

You can also apply this pattern of folding to other shapes like hexagons & octagons to get some pretty funky results (try and see for yourself!).

So to sum it up: Professor Demaine is amazingly cool. Therefore, you should go check out his exhibit.

QED, folks. QED.


About the octopi

hi! i’m just a nerd-artist-musician-hipster-thing. i like puns, long walks, and food. i dislike dancing, but i want to learn to love it. goal in life? learn everything. everything. you might say that’s impossible, but hey, at least i’ll always have something to live for.


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