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Dal Science's 200th Anniversary Events


MARCH 8, 2018

Folding Paper: Visual Art Meets Mathematics
2:00-3:00 p.m.
The Great Hall, Dalhousie University Club
RSVP required

In celebration of Dalhousie's 200th Anniversary, Dal alumnus, artist and MIT Professor Erik Demaine (BSc'95) returns to campus March 8 to deliver a special lecture titled Folding Paper: Visual Art Meets Mathematics.

Please RSVP here. Seating is limited and tickets are required for entrance.

About Erik Demaine

Identified as a child prodigy at 7 years old, Erik graduated from Dal with an honours degree at the age of 14 and later became the youngest professor ever hired at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at Dal, Erik studied mathematics and computer science, and even applied some of his knowledge working in an oceanography lab.

Erik is now a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold, to the computational difficulty of playing games.

Erik applies mathematics to create beautiful works of folded art, some of which are featured in New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery.


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; with Tomohiro Tachi, our new Origamizer algorithm enables efficient watertight folding of any polyhedral surface, such as the classic Stanford bunny or Utah teapot.

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 with my father Martin Demaine, 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.