FUN: Origami Math

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5520.1267a

It may not take a Ph.D. in math to fold a frog from a square of paper, but it might not hurt either—especially if your origami ambitions include assembling interlocking polyhedra. The geometric aspects of the art of paper folding are surprisingly rich, enthusiasts say, and origami theory has led to some amazing new designs.

Merrimack College mathematician Tom Hull's Origami Mathematics page offers a tutorial on origami geometric constructions (including how to trisect an angle, an impossible task with ruler and compass!). Hull also includes instructions for making a model of five intersecting tetrahedra and links to other origami math sites. At British biochemist Alex Bateman's origami page, you can download Tess, a Perl program for creating mosaiclike origami tessellations. There are also sample patterns (in Postscript) ready for printing and folding. The key instruction when doing origami: Be patient. Rome wasn't folded in a day.

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