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Department of Physics Colloquium

Monday, March 7, 2016 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
Central Campus

General Physics Colloquium - Kieval Lecture, Erik Demaine, MIT.  Refreshments from 3:30-3:50 pm. 

Title:  Folding Paper: Visual Art Meets Mathematics

Host:  Paul McEuen

Abstract:  My father Martin Demaine and I like to blur the lines between art and mathematics, by freely moving from designing sculpture to proving theorems and back again.  Paper folding is a great setting for this approach, as it mixes a rich geometric structure with a beautiful art form.  Mathematically, we are continually developing algorithms to fold paper into any shape you desire.  Sculpturally, we have been exploring curved creases, which remain poorly understood mathematically, but have potential applications in robotics, deployable structures, manufacturing, and self-assembly.  By integrating science and art, we constantly find new inspirations, problems, and ideas: proving that sculptures do or don't exist, or illustrating mathematical beauty through physical beauty.  Collaboration, particularly as a father-son team, has been a powerful way for us to bridge these fields.  Lately we are exploring how folding changes with other materials, such as hot glass, opening a new approach to glass blowing, and finding new ways for paper and glass to interact.


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Sue Sullivan

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Erik Demaine

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