Tuesday, August 31, 2004
student studies complexities of origami through Maple Scholars
Ind. – Since receiving an origami book for the first time on her
eighth birthday, Goshen College senior Rosanna Nafziger has been fascinated
with the intricate creases and delicate lines of the Japanese paper-folding
art. She studied origami math in Professor of Mathematics David Housman’s
Conjecture in Proof class, combining two of her favorite things. As a
Maple Scholar at Goshen College this summer, the program has provided
her with the opportunity to continue immersing herself in the subject.
Scholars is a summer scholarly research opportunity for students to
work side by side with Goshen College professors. Consisting of
eight weeks of research, the program culminates in a final
symposium showcasing each student’s work.
and math double major, Nafziger, from Linville, Va., investigated
the mathematics of origami folds, which find applications in the
field of abstract algebra.
being a beautiful art form, can also be viewed as a mathematical
system of points and folds governed by axioms,” said
Professor of Mathematics Patricia Oakley, who is serving as
Nafziger’s faculty adviser.
thousands of years, people have been using the straightedge and
compass to construct various geometric figures,” said
Nafziger. “As it turns out, using nothing but paper, origami
folds are capable of doing far more than the straightedge and
compass – origami can trisect angles and double cubes,
problems which boil down to solving cubic
working to clarify what kinds of folds can be accomplished in
origami and, consequently, which constructions can be made. An
example of a practical application of origami is the folding of an
airbag in a vehicle.
elegance of using paper-folding to solve incredibly complex
problems just thrills me,” she said. “Some of these
problems involve page-long equations that a single fold can
College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian
liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition.
The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate
learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and
servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the
church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term
program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in
Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of
Distinction,” Making a Difference College Guide”
and U.S.News & World Report’s
“America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named
Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit http://www.goshen.edu/.
more information, contact New Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at
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