Important information regarding the recent AMS power outage.

The transformer that provides electricity to the AMS building in Providence went down on Sunday, April 22. The restoration of our email, website, AMS Bookstore and other systems is almost complete. We are currently running on a generator but overnight a new transformer should be hooked up and (fingers crossed) we should be fine by 8:00 (EDT) Wednesday morning. This issue has affected selected phones, which should be repaired by the end of today. No email was lost, although the accumulated messages are only just now being delivered so you should expect some delay.

Thanks for your patience.

Interlocking tetrahedraPodcastOrigami—paper-folding—may not seem like a subject for mathematical investigation or one with sophisticated applications, yet anyone who has tried to fold a road map or wrap a present knows that origami is no trivial matter. Mathematicians, computer scientists, and engineers have recently discovered that this centuries-old subject can be used to solve many modern problems.The methods of origami are now used to fold objects such as automobile air bags and huge space telescopes efficiently, and may be related to how proteins fold.

Manufacturers often want to make a product out of a single piece of material. The manufacturing problem then becomes one of deciding whether a shape can be folded and if so, is there an efficient way to find a good fold? Thus, many origami research problems have to do with algorithm complexity and optimization theory. A testament to the diversity of origami, as well as the power of mathematics, is its applicability to problems at the molecular level, in manufacturing, and in outer space.

Thomas Hull
Thomas Hull
Western New England University (at the time of the interview, Hull was at Merrimack College)
Top image: Model designed by Thomas Hull and Francis Ow, folded by PapaJoe (Joe Gilardi).

Listen to Thomas Hull talk about the interplay of math and origami.

For More Information: "When can you fold a map?," Arkin, et al.

American Mathematical Society