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Pi Mu Epsilon welcomes Elon's Alan Russell for origami event

The national mathematics honor society hosted a fun-filled evening of snacks, prizes and origami with associate professor of mathematics Alan Russell on Thursday, April 9, 2014.

Alan Russell explains aspects of origami history.

​​​A total of 31 students and faculty came to listen to Russell, who is a recognized leader on origami and its connections with mathematics education.

He delievered an informative and engaging presentation concerning his current research and pedagogical interests on the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.

Audience members were taught how to fold several origami shapes, including the seasonally appropriate "inflatable Easter rabbit" (see the accompanying pictures).

Russell ended his presentation with a discussion of his current collaborative work that is funded by a $1.8 million NSF grant.

Specifically, Russell is working with a group of engineers at NC State University along with several artists/designers to study a new type of origami related to the folding and unfolding of polymer sheets via hands-free, external triggers (such as light).  

Students proudly dispalying their finished "inflatable rabbits"

Russell mentioned a potential application of this work to aid relief efforts by supplying disaster-stricken areas with large sheets of metal. Suitably treated sheets of metal could be folded into shelters/rescue areas during the recovery phase and unfolded and removed when they were no longer needed.  

It is easy to appreciate the positive impact this work could have, especially in light of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The event was planned by Pi Mu Epsilon's leadership team: president Amy Wagoner '14, vice president Nakhila Mistry '14, treasurer Chris Shill '14, and faculty advisor Chad Awtrey (assistant professor of mathematics).

As in previous Pi Mu Epsilon events, one lucky student won the $25 Visa Gift Card door prize.  For this event, the door prize went to Aseema Daley '17.

Aseema Daley '17 wins the $25 Visa Gift Card door prize.

On Monday, May 5, Pi Mu Epsilon will host Eve Torrence (Randolph-Macon College). Torrence serves as the president of the national office of Pi Mu Epsilon.

She will give a workshop on origami during the afternoon (12:15-1:25 p.m. in Lakeside 212), and she will give a special address at an evening event where the new members of Elon's chapter will be inducted into the honor society.

Chad Awtrey,
4/19/2014 10:10 AM