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Robert J. Lang is an American physicist who is also one of the foremost origami artists and theorists in the world. He is known for his complex and elegant designs, most notably of insects and animals. He has studied the mathematics of origami and used computers to study the theories behind origami. He has made great advances in making real-world applications of origami to engineering problems.

The Mathematics of Paper Folding: An Interview with Robert Lang
By Margaret Wertheim

This interview was first published in:
Cabinet, Issue 17, Spring 2005

Robert Lang is a pioneer in the emerging field of computational origami, a branch of mathematics that explores the formal properties and potentialities of folded paper. Like the study of knots, pioneered in the late nineteenth century, computational origami and its practical offshoot origami sekkei or “technical folding” turn out to have a surprising range of applications to real world problems; from working out how to fold up stents so they can be threaded into arteries, to designing thin-film telescopes that are packed into the hold of a space shuttle. Lang is the inventor of the TreeMaker computer program, which allows him to design and calculate crease patterns for a wide range of origami models—including intricate insects, crustaceans, and amphibians. He has been one of the very few Western columnists for the Japan Origami Academic Society and is the author of eight books, including Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art. Lang received a doctorate in physics from Caltech and spent twenty years as a laser physicist before becoming a fulltime paper folder.


Cheryl H. Kelly

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Dean Roy Wensley

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