Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"PopSci's Brilliant 10," by Laurie Goldman. Popular Science, September 2003.

Erik Demaine (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is profiled in themagazine's second annual listing of "superstar young scientists doingmind-boggling work in diverse, sometimes brand-new fields." Demaine,home-schooled as a youth, became an assistant professor at MIT at the age of20. He is now a leader in the field of computational origami, a discipline thatcombines computer science and mathematics. The profile notes that computationalorigami has practical applications as well as recreational value: it has helpedengineeers figure out how to unfold a telescope in outer space, how to stowautomobile airbags, and possibly how proteins are folded. Demaine is quoted onthe joys of his work: "You just look at something you normally see in adifferent way and think, Gee, I wonder if there's some mathematics behindthat?"

--- Annette Emerson