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IFF Directors Talks

IFF Directors Talks 2012
IFF Directors Talks 2011
IFF Directors Talks 2010
IFF Directors Talks 2009


Previous IFF Lectures

Exhibition Opening and Fractal Unveiling
Doheny Library, University of Southern California
Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 57pm

A Lecture by Ryan and Trevor Oakes
Sat. September 22, 2012 @ 68pm

Theoretical and Practical Explorations of Space

@ Hayward Gallery, London
June 12–14, 2012

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim speaks at Art Center College of Design
June 22, 2011 @ 7pm
With Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific

Captain Charles Moore Talks About Plastic Trash
[IFF-L22] Saturday Jan 17, 2009

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim
Neuroscience Discussions at the LA Public Library

[IFF-L21] October 2 + November 10, 2008

Seeing Anew [IFF-L20]
A lecture by Trevor and Ryan Oakes
at Machine Project Sunday, June 24 @ 7pm

The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zelleweger[IFF-L19]
A discussion with the IFF and Dr. Shea Zelleweger
at Foshay Masonic Lodge Saturday, March 3 @ 5pm

Structural Considerations of the Business Card Sponge[IFF-L17]
By Dr. Jeannine Mosely
Sunday, September 10 @ 8pm

The Insect Trilogy
@ Telic Arts Exchange
How Flies Fly [IFF-L14]
By Dr Michael Dickinson
The Ecology of a Termite's Gut [IFF-L15]
By Dr Jared Leadbetter
What is it Like to be a Spider? [IFF-L16]
By Dr Simon Pollard

Where the Wild Things Are 2:
A Talk About Knot Theory
By Ken Millett
at The Drawing Center in NY.

Where the Wild Things Are 2
by Ken Millett
at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Things That Think:
A hands-on history of physical computation devices.

by Nick Gessler [IFF-L12]

Where the Wild Things Are:
A Talk about Knot Theory

by Ken Millett [IFF-L11]
at The Foshay Masonic Lodge (Culver City)

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane:
A conversation on non-euclidean geometry and feminine handicraft

by Dr. Daina Taimina and IFF Director Margaret Wertheim [IFF-L10]

Darwinism on a Desktop:
Sodaplay and the Evolution of a Digital World

by Ed Burton [IFF-L9]

The Logic Alphabet
by Christine Wertheim [IFF-L8]

Why Things Don't Fall Down
A Talk About Tensegrities
by Robert Connelly [IFF-L7]

The Art and Science of Child’s Play

By Norman Brosterman [IFF-L6]

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L5]
A Talk by David Henderson and Daina Taimina

The Mathematics of Paper Folding [IFF-L4]
by Robert Lang

The Physics of Snowflakes [IFF-L3]
by Kenneth Libbrecht

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L2]
by Daina Taimina and David Henderson

The Figure That Stands Behind Figures:
Mosaics Of The Mind
by Robert Kaplan


Previous Events

Crochet Hyperbolic Workshop
Proteus Gowanus gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Hyperbolic Crochet Workshop:
a celebration of feminine handicraft and higher geometry and a homage to the disappearing wonder of coral reefs.

at The Institute For Figuring – Special Collections

A workshop on crocheting the hyperbolic plane.
at the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles.


The Mathematics of Paper Folding [IFF-L4]
by Robert Lang

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 @ 7:30pm
The Foshay Masonic Lodge
9635 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA [map]

Download the paper fold model Dr. Lang created for the IFF

Cabinet Magazine interview with Robert Lang

The Physics of Snowflakes
The Physics of Snowflakes

Dr. Robert Lang is one of the pioneers of the field of computational origami, the cross disciplinary marriage of mathematics and paper folding, sometimes known as origami sekkei or technical folding. Dr Lang is the architect of the TreeMaker computer program [more] that will design and calculate crease patterns for a wide class of origami models, including complicated insects, crustaceans and amphibians. He has been one of the very few Western columnists for the journal of the Japan Origami Academic Society and is the author of Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art. Dr Lang has consulted on applications of folding to engineering problems ranging from air-bag design to expandable space telescopes. After a successful career in the field of laser physics and optoelectronics, he has recently become a full-time paper folder. In this lecture he will talk about the art and science of origami sekkei.

Images: crab model | lecture hall | Dr. Lang

Traditional origami models, painstakingly developed by hand, have mostly been simple structures - stylistic “sketches” of birds and flowers, and pretty decorative boxes. The toolkit of the computational origamist vastly expands this repertoire through the techniques of mathematics, enabling the construction of elaborate geometrical models and startlingly realistic animals with detailed anatomical features such as wings and claws and antennae.

One of the major hurdles for the technical folder is to solve what is known as the circle-packing problem. If, for example, you want to make a lobster, which has a dozen or more different parts, how do you assign the space on the paper so that all the parts are accommodated? It turns out that mathematically this is equivalent to the long-standing problem of how can one efficiently pack a bunch of circles into a square. Though trivial to state, mathematicians do not have a general solution to this question and can only solve it for around two dozen circles. Fortunately that is good enough for most origami challenges. Dr Robert Lang’s Treemaker program will compute the circle-packing solution for a wide range of models and design the pattern of creases to define the desired form.

Download this paper fold model Dr. Lang created for the IFF*

*PDF download: requires Adobe Reader or Apple Preview

Robert Lang's website

LA Weekly article about Dr Lang and technical folding.

New York Times article about computational origami.