Winter Speaker Series 2021: Thomas Hull

February 20, 2021 2:00 pm Virtual, Live on Zoom

"Origami: Where Art, Math and Science Meet"

Thomas Hull, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Western New England University

Origami, the art of paper folding, has been practiced in Japan and all over the world for centuries. However, the past decade has witnessed a surge of interest in using origami for science. Applications in robotics, airbag design, deployment of space structures, and even medicine are appearing in the popular science press. Videos of origami robots folding themselves up and walking away or performing tasks have gone viral in recent years. What’s more, the National Science Foundation has found origami valuable enough to fund millions of dollars towards studying engineering and science applications of origami art.

But if the art of paper folding is so old, why has there been an increase in origami applications now? One answer is because of mathematics. Advances in our understanding of how folding works has arisen due to success in modeling origami mathematically. In this presentation we will explore why origami lends itself to mathematical study and see how origami-math has inspired science applications as well as influenced origami as an artistic medium.

Lecture will be followed by audience Q&A with Thomas Hull via Zoom chat.

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About the Speaker

Thomas Hull, an Associate Professor of mathematics at Western New England University, is considered a leading expert on origami mathematics as well as an accomplished paper folder.  He has written origami instruction books, numerous origami-math research papers, Project Origami (AK Peters/CRC Press), a book on incorporating the mathematics of paper folding into college-level math classes, and most recently Origametry (Cambridge University Press) on the connections between origami and math.  He was on the Board of Directors for OrigamiUSA for 13 years, and he’s been invited to speak on origami-math to audiences all over the world. His most popular origami creations are the PHiZZ unit, which has infected the fingers of procrastinators world-wide, and the Five Intersecting Tetrahedra model, which was voted by the British Origami Society as one of the top 10 origami models of all time.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Johanna and Ronald Becker
Santiago Neville
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr.
Mary Jennings


This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Johanna Becker, Chairwoman
Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement
Eleanor Doumato
Anne DuBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Santiago Neville
Kathleen Shinners