Robert J. Lang

Paper Talk
Paper Talk
Robert J. Lang

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Robert J. Lang has been folding origami for over 50 years and is now recognized as one of the world’s leading masters of the art, with over 800 designs. He is noted for designs of great detail and realism. His work combines aspects of the Western school of mathematical origami design with the Eastern emphasis upon line and form to yield work that is distinctive, elegant, and challenging to fold. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world, including Paris, Los Angeles, the Kaga Museum of Origami in Japan, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Dr. Lang was the first Westerner invited to address the Nippon (Japan) Origami Association’s annual meeting (in 1992) and has been an invited guest at international origami conventions around the world. Dr. Lang is one of the pioneers of the cross-disciplinary marriage of origami with mathematics and has presented numerous refereed technical papers on origami mathematics at mathematical and computer science professional meetings. He is the author, co-author, or editor of twenty-one books and numerous articles on origami, received Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2009 and was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013.

Read more about TreeMaker, the computer program Lang wrote that can solve for crease patterns he couldn’t construct in any other way — i.e., using pencil and paper.

A screen shot of the computed crease pattern for a scorpion using TreeMaker 4. Circles corresponding to leaf nodes (terminal flaps) are shown to aid intuition.

Here’s the cactus we talked about, covered with clusters of spines which required creating the same series of folds, over and over again.

© Robert J. Lang, 2015, Cactus, Opus 680, One uncut square of Echizen kozo (back-coated duo), 4″ x 4″ x 8″

Find out so much more about Robert Lang’s books, technology projects and artwork on his website.


Music featuring excerpts of Makin’ Paper folk song by Peter Thomas. Listen to the full song and find out about other paper and book arts folk songs.

Gary A. Hanson did the sound editing for this episode. He practices and refines his skills in audio production while making his own podcast I’ll Have a Beer and Talk, a show about tech news, culture, weird animal stories and of course, beer. Gary is also the Deckle in Pulp & Deckle, a Portland-based community hand papermaking studio.


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