Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Fold here first," by Bennett Daviss. New Scientist, 18 January 2003, pages37-39.

This article begins with a story about an engineer who needed an efficient wayto fold up automobile airbags so that the bags would fit neatly into a tightspace and yet would deploy and unfold rapidly. The engineer turned to origami,which in recent years has been the subject of mathematical analysis. Thearticle quotes math-origami expert Erik Demaine as saying: "A few people withtechnical backgrounds began to see a theoretical structure behind origami: thatthere were some principles underlying certain kinds of complicated foldingpatterns... Once they recognized those principles, they began building moreand more complicated models." An interviewwith Demaine appears in the same issue of New Scientist.

--- Allyn Jackson