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Robert J. Lang, editor
A K Peters
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Charles Ashbacher
, on

Origami is an unusual area of mathematics in that it is as much an art form as it is mathematics and very young children can be exposed to and enthralled by it. The breadth of structures that can be made by folding paper is substantial and expanding all the time. This book is a mathematical examination and explanation of origami; it is a collection of research papers written by some of the experts in the field.

As a mathematician, I naturally believe in the ubiquitous power of mathematics to explain the universe and to give us power over it. However, I found that admittedly significant bias stretched as I read through these papers and was sometimes mildly astonished as my brethren used a mathematical language to describe possible and forbidden structures. Computer software is now also being used to model and display the end result of directed folding and some of that software is featured in these papers.

It is not necessary for you to have an interest in doing the actual folding described in this book to appreciate what is being done. This is a book of applied and theoretical mathematics, although if you don’t believe something, you can always grab a sheet of paper and try to disprove it.

Charles Ashbacher splits his time between consulting with industry in projects involving math and computers, teaching college classes and co-editing The Journal of Recreational Mathematics. In his spare time, he reads about these things and helps his daughter in her lawn care business.

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