Origami

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ALDaily points to this excellent article on the world’s top origami artists. This guy has a hell of a bio:

Lang kept folding while earning a master’s in electrical engineering at Stanford and a Ph.D. in applied physics at Caltech. As he worked on his dissertation—“Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries and Spectral Properties”—he designed an origami hermit crab, a mouse in a mousetrap, an ant, a skunk, and more than fifty other pieces. They were dense and crisp and precise but also full of character: his mouse conveys something fundamentally mouse-ish, his ant has an essential ant-ness. His insects were especially beautiful. While in Germany for postdoctoral work, he and Diane were taken with Black Forest cuckoo clocks; the carved casings, pinecone-shaped weights, pendulums, and pop-out birds wouldn’t seem to be a natural for origami, but Lang thought otherwise. He started a job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, in 1988, shortly after he had finished folding a life-sized cuckoo clock. It had taken him three months to design, and six hours to fold, and it made Lang a sensation in the origami world.

 

12 Comments

  1. Origami has a neat subculture with a lot of overlap with math and physics, and perhaps biology as well. Maybe he can help with protein folding.

  2. Origami has a neat subculture with a lot of overlap with math and physics, and perhaps biology as well. Maybe he can help with protein folding.

  3. Isn’t paper-folding a subtest on some IQ tests? 
     
    When Mozart was at a dinner party and would start composing in his head, he’d absent-mindedly fold his napkin into ever more complicated patterns. 
     
    When Chabris studied the purported “Mozart Effect,” he found that listening to Mozart didn’t raise scores on IQ tests … except in paper-folding!

  4. Isn’t paper-folding a subtest on some IQ tests? 
     
    When Mozart was at a dinner party and would start composing in his head, he’d absent-mindedly fold his napkin into ever more complicated patterns. 
     
    When Chabris studied the purported “Mozart Effect,” he found that listening to Mozart didn’t raise scores on IQ tests … except in paper-folding!

  5. More on the history of Western origami 
     
    To me the interesting thing about this story is its international character. Japan, New York, Argentina, and various places in Europe all figure in the development of what was (at least only recently) an obscure hobby.

  6. More on the history of Western origami 
     
    To me the interesting thing about this story is its international character. Japan, New York, Argentina, and various places in Europe all figure in the development of what was (at least only recently) an obscure hobby.

  7. I did origami with some young children in Japan, who, I suppose, were already used to it. Later I tried to teach origami to some American kindergarteners. Some of them could not grasp it at all. Their complete inability was almost amazing.

  8. I did origami with some young children in Japan, who, I suppose, were already used to it. Later I tried to teach origami to some American kindergarteners. Some of them could not grasp it at all. Their complete inability was almost amazing.

  9. I had a period in elementary school when I was really into origami for a month or so, and then I forgot about it. 
     
    ogler, protein folding was the first thing I thought of too. I thought he could make origami models of proteins to display as artwork at some conference on protein folding.

  10. I had a period in elementary school when I was really into origami for a month or so, and then I forgot about it. 
     
    ogler, protein folding was the first thing I thought of too. I thought he could make origami models of proteins to display as artwork at some conference on protein folding.

  11. I fooled around with string figures for a few months once. I bet that someone who was good at both would find some formal correspondences. They’re done especially by Eskimos and Pacific Islanders.

  12. I fooled around with string figures for a few months once. I bet that someone who was good at both would find some formal correspondences. They’re done especially by Eskimos and Pacific Islanders.

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