Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The New York Times > Science > Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life

The New York Times > Science > Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life "On the mantel of a quiet suburban home here stands a curious object resembling a small set of organ pipes nestled into a neat, white case. At first glance it does not seem possible that such a complex, curving form could have been folded from a single sheet of paper, and yet it was.
The construction is one of an astonishing collection of paper objects folded by Dr. David Huffman, a former professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a pioneer in computational origami, an emerging field with an improbable name but surprisingly practical applications.
...
Dr. Huffman's folding was a private activity. Professionally he worked in the field of coding and information theory. As a student at M.I.T. in the 1950's, he discovered a minimal way of encoding information known as Huffman Codes, which are now used to help compress MP3 music files and JPEG images. Dr. Peter Newman of the Computer Science Laboratory at the Stanford Research Institute said that in everything Dr. Huffman did, he was obsessed with elegance and simplicity. "He had an ability to visualize problems and to see things that nobody had seen before," Dr. Newman said."

See full article for a couple amazing photos.
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