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2020 I. E. Block Community Lecture: Mathematics Meets Origami

Erik Demaine
I. E. Block Community Lecture: Mathematics Meets Origami
Date and Time: Monday, July 6, 2020 at 11 a.m. ET

Erik Demaine of Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present the 2020 I. E. Block Community Lecture titled “Mathematics Meets Origami.” The lecture will be held virtually in 2020. 

“I like to blur the lines between art and mathematics, freely moving from proving theorems to designing sculpture and back again. Origami is a great setting for this approach, as it mixes a rich geometric structure with a beautiful art form,” says Demaine.

In this lecture, Demaine will discuss mathematical and computational origami, where paper folding joins mathematics and computer science, with examples of sculpture and engineering. This area is especially fun and demonstrates the power of mathematical approaches to design and analysis of the world.

By integrating science and art, his research constantly finds new inspirations, problems, and ideas: illustrating mathematical beauty through physical beauty. Collaboration, particularly with his father Martin Demaine, has been a powerful way to bridge these fields. Demaine shares that, “Computational origami, and geometry more generally, is easy to visualize and demonstrate. Complexity of games and puzzles is easy to appreciate to anyone who has played with games and puzzles.”

Erik Demaine is a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He describes the goal of his extraordinary work as, “…to get people excited about mathematics through accessible work… I like to work in areas where the mathematical problems and results can be easily understood by nonmathematicians.”

He received a MacArthur Fellowship (2003) as a computational geometer finding solutions to difficult problems related to folding and bending while moving between the theoretical and the playful, revealing the former in the latter. Demaine cowrote a book about the theory of folding, with Joseph O'Rourke (Geometric Folding Algorithms, 2007), and a book about the computational complexity of games, with Robert Hearn (Games, Puzzles, and Computation, 2009). His work with his collaborators includes curved origami sculptures in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian.

The I. E. Block Community Lecture is given each year at the SIAM Annual Meeting  (AN20) and is free and open to the public. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 lecture is happening virtually on July 6 at 11 a.m. ET. Students, teachers, and professionals can register free for AN20The lecture highlights a relatable application of mathematics to help foster appreciation and excitement for the vitality of science. 

Click here to register for AN20. 

To suggest future presenters, click here.

For more information visit the AN20 conference site here.

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