Published on August 6th, 2013 | by Jo0
Confessions of a craft tragic
By Maithili Mehta
As well as loving maths, I also adore craft. Knitting, crochet, paper craft, you name it, I love it.
Up until recently, I thought the extent of interaction between my two beloved areas was in resizing a knitting pattern (soooo many fractions) or knitting a moebius scarf/klein bottle. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that paper folding, or origami is actually a field of mathematics!
The mathematics behind paper folding has been studied since 1893. Work has been done on fold colouring and classification. You can use origami to trisect an angle or to calculate the dimensions of a cube that would hold double the volume of the original cube.
Robert Lang has done a wonderful TED talk about the mathematics of origami where he talks about an innovative computer program he has written to convert pictures of objects into the paper folds required to create the object out of paper – you can watch the talk here.
Most astoundingly, origami has been used to design a stent that folds down very small and can then be inserted into an artery and expanded to hold the artery open. You can see a picture of one in this article http://www.world-science.net/othernews/070207_origami.htm.
Right, I’m off to fold some paper!
After finishing her Ph.D. in Quantum Superalgebras in 2003, Maithili Mehta moved into private industry and became a software engineer. Maithili loves reading, knitting, crocheting, music and of course Mathematics!