February Moment of Science:
Fold & Cut Theorem
February Moment of Science – Fold and Cut Heart
This Moment of Science is all about math. Did you know that you can cut any shape made of all flat edges by folding a single piece of paper and cutting once? The earliest known description of the so called “Fold and Cut Problem” comes from Japan in 1721. The first proof of this theorem was published in Canada in 1999…that’s 278 years later! Although this complex mathematical theorem may seem like it is only useful for creating advanced origami and impressing your family and friends, it has actually turned out to be scientifically important for figuring out how to fit roofs onto irregularly shaped buildings. Follow these instructs to fold and cut a heart for Valentine’s Day.
Start with a square piece of paper (such as origami paper). If you do not have any, take a piece of letter copy paper (8.5” x 11”) and fold and cut it into a square:
Begin by taking the top right corner (*) and folding it down until the top edge overlaps the left edge of the paper.
*Hint: If the shape does not turn out how you want it to look, try folding a new piece of paper, making sure to angle the straight cut more toward the right.
Several modern mathematicians have challenged themselves to use the Fold and Cut Theorem to create their own alphabet. Can you figure out how to fold and cut the letters of your name? Here are some helpful hints for alphabets others have created (as well as a few more designs for fold-and-cut hearts): http://www.takayaiwamoto.com/Onecut_Origami/onecut_origami.html.