News FocusProfile: Zhong You

'Origami Engineer' Flexes to Create Stronger, More Agile Materials

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Science  17 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6036, pp. 1376-1377
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6036.1376

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Zhong You of the University of Oxford describes himself as an "origami engineer," one of a small number of researchers who build a variety of objects from folded sheets of rigid material. The discipline first gained prominence in the 1970s, when engineers realized that they could pack solar panels that had been etched with an origami crease pattern into a small volume for transport in shuttles and quickly and easily unfold them in space. But since then, You feels that its potential for transforming a host of structures across a range of scientific disciplines has been largely ignored—and that's something he hopes to rectify.

  • * Zeeya Merali is a freelance writer based in London.

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