January 8, 2012

Pleated Cone

This year's display of mathematical art at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston featured an eye-popping array of three-dimensional structures. One of my favorites was a crinkled surface—an intricately pleated cone—crafted from a single sheet of blue paper.

Titled Pleated Multi-sliced Cone, this beautiful example of geometric origami was the product of a collaboration. Origami artist Robert J. Lang came up with the concept and devised the crease pattern using Mathematica. Artist Ray Schamp printed the intricate pattern on elephant hide paper. Mathematician and origami artist Thomas Hull painstakingly folded the patterned sheet of paper into the final structure.

Pleated Multi-sliced Cone
16" x 16" x 5", elephant hide paper

"Part of the charm of paper folding is its capacity for simple, elegant beauty as well as stunning complexity, all within the same set of constraints," Hull noted in the artist's statement accompanying the artwork.

Pleated Multi-sliced Cone was awarded second place in the exhibition by a panel of judges representing both the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society.

Photos by I. Peterson

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