Other Posts

Below are the latest posts on this site that I’ve written on topics that are not particularly math-and-science. Click the subject listings to the right to see other posts in other categories (both science and general).

I also have some book, magazine, and journal publications in math and science: see journal articles here, my books here, and a listing of all external publications here.

Computational Origami

This page contains links to computational tools useful for origami design and for combining origami with mathematical or scientific applications. See here for additional links about origami math, science, and technology. See here for additional links not specifically related to mathematical and scientific origami. If you’ve got a computational origami tool you’d like listed, send […]

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Got Videos?

I am regularly asked if I would create video instructions for my origami designs. Sorry, I’m not currently set up to make such videos myself. However, if you’re a videographer and would like to hire me to demonstrate and/or do hand-modeling of folding (something I’ve done several times for commercial clients), please contact me and […]

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Science Links

This page contains various and sundry links to web pages that combine origami with mathematical or scientific applications. See here for links related to computational origami (software for origami design and analysis). See here for additional links not specifically related to mathematical and scientific origami. Please let me know if you find any broken links […]

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Miscellaneous Links

This page contains various and sundry links to international origami societies and other origami resources on the web. See here for links relating specifically to mathematical and scientific origami. Please let me know if you find any broken links. Origami Societies These are the largest international origami societies. The linked pages also have links to […]

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Origami Conferences

Since 1989, there have been several highly successful international scientific conferences exploring the interactions between origami, mathematics, science, and (since 2001) education. The conferences take place at irregular intervals—basically, whenever a general chair and sponsoring organization decide that the time has come for the next. Beginning in 2015, the OSME series of conferences is guided […]

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4OSME

2006-10-16 Update: 4OSME was a rousing success! Over 165 people attended some 70 talks. The 4OSME proceedings has been published by A K Peters, Ltd (now part of CRC Press). Several media groups covered 4OSME. See photographs and a trailer from Green Fuse Films’ Peabody-award-winning documentary on origami (portions of which were filmed at 4OSME), […]

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Making of Mitsubishi

The Artist’s Commentary In October, 2005, I was contacted by MJZ, a production company in Los Angeles, who were working on a new commercial about the Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV for the advertising firm BBDO. BBDO’s concept was to have the car drive through an “origami world.” They needed an origami artist to design and fold […]

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Commercial Art

I have created a range of commissioned works for commercial projects, some of which are shown on this page. They illustrate just a bit of what is possible with origami used for commercial advertising. (See my page on monumental origami for further examples.) To make a figure look right for advertising, various origami genres can […]

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Monumental Origami

“Redpath Pteranodon,” a 4-meter (16′) wingspan origami Pteranodon installed at the Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Paper custom made by Papeterie St.-Armand, Montreal, Canada. The term “Monumental” in “Monumental Origami” refers to size: this is large-scale origami, intended to make a visual impact from a distance. The uses of monumental origami are several: it […]

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Design Challenge at OrigamiUSA

In 2003, Daniel Robinson, Satoshi Kamiya, and I were sitting together at the OrigamiUSA annual meeting, talking about the process of composition and design and comparing thoughts and ideas. Brian Chan’s “Kraken Attack”, from 2006. I should mention that this is not at all unusual. Origami, unlike many other fields, is remarkably collegial, and the […]

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Design Challenge 2010

The 2010 challenge was: Cars and Trucks. In recent years, we’ve stuck with the natural world, but this year we decied to visit man-made objects. A selection of the year’s entries are shown below. Brian Chan and I each took on sports cars, with the idea of doing the wheels in a way different from […]

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Design Challenge 2009

The 2009 design challenge was one of the four nonhuman great apes: Gorilla, Orangutan, Chimpanzee, or Bonobo. The last few design challenges have been very open-ended, which has allowed artists to display great creativity in subject. For this next challenge, however, we decided to constrain the subject to emphasize implementation—and in particular, to challenge the […]

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Design Challenge 2008

The 2008 design challenge was a prehistoric non-dino from an uncut square. What does that mean? Well, there are many, many dinosaurs in origami, but there are also many prehistoric creatures that are as cool, or cooler, than dinos, but have not yet been realized in origami. So whether one is an aficionado of the […]

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Design Challenge 2007

The 2007 design challenge was to fold an entire plant from an uncut square. There are many origami plants (you can see several in my own gallery), but nearly all origami plants are either composite, i.e., from multiple sheets of paper, or only partial plants (like a leaf, or blossom). The challenge this year was […]

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Design Challenge 2006

The topic of the 2006 design challenge was a sailing ship. It wasn’t that this topic hadn’t been done before; the symbol of OrigamiUSA is a simple traditional sailboat, and on the complex side, Pat Crawford’s brilliant “Full-Rigged Sailing Ship” is one of the most well-known origami figures in existence. But Crawford’s ship dates from […]

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Design Challenge 2005

Attack of the Hermit Crabs! At the 2004 OrigamiUSA convention, Satoshi and I examined each other’s Eupatorus (and unmercifully razzed Dan Robinson for his no-show). It had been an enjoyable challenge, and so we decided to try it again for the following year. The subject we chose was a hermit crab—a type of crab that […]

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Design Challenge 2004

The original design competition was for a Eupatorus gracilicornis beetle, which makes a good subject for origami because of its large number of hornlike protrusions. ( See here for some examples of the real thing.) Although 3 of us originally agreed to take on this subject, Daniel Robinson was otherwise occupied, so only Satoshi Kamiya […]

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Crease Patterns for Folders

In recent years, a new form of written instruction has become common within the modern art of origami: the crease pattern (often referred to by its abbreviation, CP). Conventional origami diagrams describe a figure by a folding sequence — a linear step-by-step pattern of progression. Crease patterns, by contrast, provide a one-step connection from the […]

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Crease Patterns as Art

If one takes the narrowest possible dictionary definition of the term, a “crease pattern,” or CP, is nothing more than a set of lines that is a representation of some subset of folds in an origami shape, real or imagined. But it can be, is, more; the deeper question is, what does a crease pattern […]

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Santa Monica Bronze Sculptures

In 1999, I was commissioned by Brailsford Studio (San Diego, California) to create four works as part of the public art component of the Downtown Transit Mall project commissioned by the City of Santa Monica and the Big Blue Bus. I developed original origami designs for four animals representative of the habitats in and around […]

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Origami Suppliers

The Origami Source Everyone’s first stop for origami supplies should be The Origami Source, OrigamiUSA’s own one-stop shop for books, paper, and related origami supplies. The Source carries books and paper from around the world, offers a unique file download store selling books and magazines in PDF form, and has friendly and great customer service. […]

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OrigamiUSA’s The Fold

Starting in November, 2010, I began writing a regular column on crease patterns (with occasional forays into other topics) for OrigamiUSA’s then-new online publication, The Fold. You’ll need to be a member of OrigamiUSA to read the articles, but in my highly biased opinion, it’s well worth the cost (not just for my articles, but […]

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More Skin in the Game

I think we may have the beginnings of a trend! A few years ago, a fan liked my Origamido Koi so much that he had its crease pattern tattooed onto his arm. Well, we have another fan of skin, ink, and origami!. Yesterday Jamie Kruger asked to use the crease pattern of my Songbird, opus […]

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Tessellatica and Web-Love from Wolfram

Wolfram gives me some web-ness: Above the Fold: Mathematica Transforms Ancient Art of Origami By coincidence, today I also learned that my 6OSME paper on Tessellatica was accepted (along with some others). So come to Tokyo in August, 2014 to get your free copy! (*) (*) Actually, you’ll be able to get a free copy […]

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Drupalizing

One of my side activities is managing the website of OrigamiUSA, which is based on the Drupal content management system. Earlier this year, we upgraded the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, a process that was not lacking in adventures. At our local Tri-Valley Drupal Users Group meeting, I presented “Lessons Learned in a […]

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My Friend Went to the Philippines and Lost All Her Money and All I Got Was This Lousy Email

The following are all actual emails; only the names have been changed. Thus spake “Jane Doe” <jane_doe@gmail.com> on 9/26/13 5:31 AM: I really hope you get this fast, I could not inform anyone about my trip, because it was impromptu. I had to be in Manila, Philippines for a program. The program was successful, but […]

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Flight of Folds and Shoot of Stars

Incredible photograph by Bill Stengel of our 10′ Flight of Folds sculpture in stainless steel (collaboration with Kevin Box); currently at the Turquoise Trail Sculpture Garden in Cerrillos, NM.

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Folding on the Water

I recently had the pleasure of going on a Lindblad Expeditions cruise in Southeast Alaska where I saw more amazing wildlife that I could have ever imagined. During lulls between bubble-netting humpbacks and beachcombing brown bears, National Geographic photographer Rich Reid was giving tips, techniques, and demonstrations, and at one point he set up a […]

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Speaking of Butterflies

One of the oldest, simplest, and to my mind, most deceptively difficult of all origami subjects is the butterfly. It is so simple, because all you really need are two wings: one can make a quite recognizable one with just two folds. And there are many origami butterfly designs out there, notably Yoshizawa’s iconic creation. […]

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This Doesn’t Taste Right

Photo taken by Mary Jane Kettler of my “Morpho Flight” butterfly at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center last year. I picture the conversation between the two harvestmen as going something like this: “Billy! We got one! and he’s not even moving!” “Wait…something’s wrong…What sort of cruel hoax is this?” (*) (*) Yes, I know […]

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So That’s What’s Inside

The traditional Japanese origami crane is such an unusual shape, it makes one wonder why whoever first folded decided on calling it a crane, and also, why they gave it that particular shape. Well, now we know the answer: it’s shaped that way because that’s its skeleton, as the photo below shows. This fantastic model […]

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Now, That’s Settled

To recap the story: in 2009, I learned that a painter named Sarah Morris had been taking my crease patterns, recoloring and renaming them, and then selling them as her own work (without credit or permission). Needless to say, that was not happy-making, and after some unsuccessful attempts to engage her in rectifying the situation, […]

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Sarah Morris Works Attribution

As noted here, as of March 1, 2013, the group of origami artists and Sarah Morris amicably settled our dispute over her usage of our origami crease pattern artworks. Most terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential, but as part of the agreement, the following will happen: Ms. Morris’s work Angel [Origami], 2009 shall […]

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Sarah Morris Copyright Infringement

2013-03-21 Update: The dispute has now been settled. See details below. For several years, American artist Sarah Morris created a series of paintings on the theme of origami in which she took origami crease patterns by several international origami artists, changed the color scheme, made up her own names for them, and then sold and […]

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I Get Swag

You know when you’ve really made it in a field when people start sending you free stuff in hopes, I suppose, that your famousosity rubs off on the freebies. My moment of made-it-ness happened a few weeks ago, when I was contacted by the good folks at the X-acto (TM) Precision Instruments company, who were […]

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A Subject that Sucks

…blood, that is. In April, 2012, I was approached by the New Yorker magazine to create an origami mosquito as an illustration for an upcoming article. They knew me in part because I’ve done some origami illustration work for Wired magazine, which is part of Conde Nast, the parent company of them both. (Possibly a […]

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Ghost Deer

I haven’t posted in quite a while, mostly because I’ve been bodaciously busy traveling on assorted origami business. The latest (and current) trip was to set up my exhibition at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX. We set everything up Thursday, then came back Friday morning for some finishing touches. I’d folded […]

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Doodling with Sensei

As you may have seen, the Google Doodle for March 14, 2012 is made of origami and celebrates the 101st birthday of Akira Yoshizawa, the father of the modern origami art. Origami has a multi-century history as a folk art in Japan, and Yoshizawa was not the only, or even the first, of his countrymen […]

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Skin in the Game

There’s an anecdote that often makes its way into business/marketing presentations, about the difference between “interest” and “commitment.” The example given pertains to a bacon-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken had an interest; the pig was committed. This sort of differentiation doesn’t come up in the origami world very often. Most origami aficionados pursue the art as […]

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I Haz a Cover

It is not unknown for musicians to use origami for cover art (Jay Ansill‘s album “Origami,” with a range of Elias figures on it, comes to mind), and I always like the combination. Origami and music just naturally seem to go together. Sometimes that is, for me, literal; the occasional 16-hour day in the Origami-d’oh! […]

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Dogs, Design, and a Farewell

There is an old joke about the difference between cats’ and dogs’ relationships with their owners: to a dog, their owner is God, while to a cat, the cat is God. To our 14-year-old black lab, Meg, every human being she ever met was a God, and they all preached the same theology: “And God […]

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The Two Cultures

In early 2010, I was invited to give a talk at a conference organized by philosopher Rob Pennock at Michigan State University, celebrating the 50th anniversary of a famous lecture by British novelist C. P. Snow, titled “The Two Cultures.” In this lecture, and a subsequent book, Snow bemoaned the widening gulf between the sciences […]

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The Fold: Hexabox

My newest installment for OrigamiUSA’s The Fold is up: Crease Pattern: Hexabox It’s a rotationally symmetric, solid-flanged shape based on a cool idea of Jeannine Mosely’s. Looks like this: I’ve used this basic notion for a lot of geometric solids, including several inspired by Southwestern pottery. Most of the curved ones require their creases to […]

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The Haverhill Fritillary

Some figures take hours or days of careful design; others are quick doodles based on exploration of an idea. My latest posting is one of the latter. It started out as just a technical puzzle: “can I add A to B?” But it turned out to have a nice and relatively novel folding sequence, so […]

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Inside the Origami-D’oh! Studio

Origami-D’oh! (J): What you say when the paper rips after 6 hours of precreasing. It’s fall here in Alamo, and the massive oak tree outside is doing its annual best at burying the Origami-D’oh! Studio in leaves: I sometimes get questions about what goes on inside the forbidden city here. I think people might imagine […]

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 3

The shocking revelation of responsibility Yes: the perpetrator of 9/11 was, indeed: And if that doesn’t convince you this was all planned, well, then nothing will. ← Previous: the horrifying story!

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 2

The horrifying story encoded in our currency! Our story begins with the $5 bill. It was a clear day, and two towers rose into the sky… But there was a cloud gathering…it was a shadow of foreboding. And suddenly, one of the towers was struck near the top! An explosion and cascade of debris! Then, […]

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 1

How origami and American currency proves that the U.S. government orchestrated 9/11 I know, you read that headline and say, “Whoa. That is some serious qhat you’ve been chewing.” But all I can say is this: if you look beyond the “facts,” and the “evidence,” and the “physics,” and the “rationality,” and the “reason,” it […]

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Origami Diagramming Conventions

Diagramming, Part I These articles were written in 1989–1991. Despite many changes in the origami world over the following decades, the recommendations remain basically sound. I’ve updated a few bits with some footnotes. Origami is an international phenomenon that has moved far beyond its traditional boundaries of Japan and Spain. Its practitioners are found world-wide, […]

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Paper

I am often asked what kind of paper to use for origami. There is no single answer; it depends on what you’re folding. On this page, I’ll talk a little bit about the most common types of paper for origami and my own experiences with them. Traditional Papers Found Paper One of the things that […]

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Google’s Doodle: Akira Yoshizawa

The Google Doodle for March 14, 2012, honored Akira Yoshizawa, the father of modern origami, on his 101st birthday. The Doodle featured the Google logo, folded from origami (each letter folded from a single uncut sheet), decorated with origami butterflies folded from one of Yoshizawa’s most famous and iconic designs. In the week or so […]

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Children’s Books, Nature Poems and Activities

My wife, Diane, is a naturalist, teacher, and children’s book author. See her website here.

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Bugaboo Spire, Northeast Ridge

As we have done for several years, Larry Sverdrup and I set out to do a new climb this July. Larry is quite an avid outdoorsman and his pet project for many years has been to climb as many as possible of the climbs in the book 50 Classic Climbs (which is affectionately, and nowadays […]

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A Familiar Name

Written in 2009. See also Connections. So here I am, in Ithaca, NY, giving a talk at their Light in Winter Festival. It’s my usual math + origami + science + technology + all-this-stuff-is-tied-together spiel. At the end of the talk, there’s the usual Q&A, and then the formal stuff breaks up and individuals walk […]

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Connections (with apologies to James Burke)

This was written in 1997. See also A Familiar Name. In 1992, I left my job researching lasers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and moved to a small company in San Jose called SDL, which designs and manufactures a wide variety of the type of laser called a “semiconductor laser.” San Jose is […]

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How to Teach a Fold

This article originally appeared in British Origami Magazine, August, 1985. Those who don’t invent (the “unwashed heathen” to the creative folder) are usually quite disgusted by the inventor’s smug posturing, and look forward to their moment of revenge—the teaching session. Creative folders who also teach their own folds are utterly insufferable—they make use of “only”s, […]

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Rules for the Creative Folder

This article originally appeared in British Origami Magazine, June, 1985. If you ask a paperfolder, he will tell you that the reason he goes to the annual origami convention in Britain (or New York, or Pago Pago, wherever) is to share the fellowship of other folders; to improve his own craftsmanship; to boldly go where […]

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