Denison's Anderson Lecture Series Hosts 'Origami Mathematics' Whiz from M.I.T.
Posted: January 15, 2006
A young mathematician who joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at age 20 is the next guest lecturer to appear at Denison University under the sponsorship of the Anderson Lecture Series. Erik Demaine, an associate professor of computer science and engineering in the department of electrical engineering and computer science at M.I.T., will speak on "Origami, Linkages and Polyhedra: Folding with Algorithms" at 8 p.m. on Thursday (Jan. 18) in the Burton Morgan Lecture Hall. The convocation is free and open to the public.
Demaine is the leading theoretician in the emerging field of origami mathematics. His research interests are in abstract geometry problems related to folding and bending that have practical applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing (sheet metal fabrication) and biology (protein-folding). Demaine holds the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Professorship at M.I.T. and in 2003 was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship "that enables its recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of society at large."
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1981, he was home schooled by his father from age 7 to 12 when he entered Dalhousie University in his hometown. He and his father, Martin Demaine, have co-authored more than 40 papers and serve together on M.I.T.'s faculty, the senior Demaine as artist-in-residence in the computer science department and in the glass blowing workshop, where Eric is again one of his students.
After earning his bachelor's degree in computer science at Dalhousie, Demaine earned a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in computer science at the University of Waterloo. At age 17, he unfolded the secret behind a complicated geometry problem, proving mathematically that it is possible to create any conceivable straight-sided shape by folding a piece of paper and making a single scissor cut. More recently he solved the "carpenter's rule problem."
The late J. Reid Anderson '38 and his widow, Polly Anderson, established the Reid and Polly Anderson Program in the Sciences in 1986 to strengthen science education at Denison. The program includes the Anderson Lecture Series, the Anderson Science Scholarships and the Anderson Research Assistantships for Science Students. The Anderson Lectures are an ongoing series of all-college presentations by distinguished expositors of the pure and applied sciences, aimed at elevating the general understanding of the natural sciences, mathematics and certain technologies.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- The Anderson Lecture Series presents mathematician Erik Demaine, M.I.T., speaking on "Origami, Linkages and Polyhedra: Folding with Algorithms"; 8 p.m., Thursday (Jan. 18), Burton Morgan Lecture Hall (150 Ridge Road). Free and open to the public. Call 740/587-6334 or 740/587-2255 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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