The Mathematics Of Origami

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The Mathematics of OrigamiSheri YinJune 3, 20091

Contents1 Introduction2 Some Basics in2.1 Groups . . .2.2 Ring . . . .2.3 Field . . . .2.4 Polynomials3Abstract. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Algebra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .444553 Properties of Origami3.1 Basic Constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3.2 Origami Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .779.4 Possible Origami Constructions115 The Complete Axioms of Origami136 Conclusion162

1IntroductionOrigami is a type of art first originated from Japan. It is possible to foldmany beautiful shapes in origami. Most amazingly, many astonishing piecesof origami are produced from a single piece of paper, with no cuttings. Justlike constructions using straight edge and compass, constructions through paperfolding is both mathematically interesting and aesthetic, particularly in origami.Some of the different categories of origami are presented below: Modular Origami Origami Tessellation Origami Animal3

There are many other beautiful shapes that can be constructed through paperfolding. Surprisingly, it turns out that origami is much more powerful thanstraight-edge and compass creations, because many things that cannot be created using straight-edge and compass, such as the doubling of a cube and trisection of an angle, can be created through paper folding [3]. This result turnsout to be quite unexpected, because we can only fold straight lines in origamidue to the fact that curves are completely arbitrary in folding. Since the studyof origami is fairly recent, there is no limit yet to the type of constructions thatcan be formed through paper folding.The focus of this paper will be on deciding what kind of shapes are possibleto construct using origami, and what kind of shapes are not. It will be mainlybased on David Auckly and John Cleveland’s article, “Totally Real Origami andImpossible Paper Folding”. Since we have yet to discover a boundary in the creation of origami, Auckly and Cleveland gave a limited definition of origami intheir paper. Although this “limited” definition excludes those properties oforigami that made them exceptionally powerful, Auckly and Cleveland managed to find a way of determining which constructions are possible from thegiven points and lines using this new definition. In this paper, we will first takea look at what is constructible under the definition of origami given by Aucklyand Cleveland, and then inspect those other axioms of origami that make thempowerful.2Some Basics in Abstract AlgebraBefore getting into origami, we need to develop a set of definitions needed tounderstand the algebra in Auckly and Cleveland’s paper.2.1GroupsDefinition 2.1. A group is a set G together with a multiplication on G whichsatisfies three axioms:a) The multiplication is associative, that is to say (xy)z x(yz) for anythree (not necessarily distinct) elements from G.b) There is an element e in G, called an identity element, such that xe x ex for every x in G.c) Each element x of G has a (so-called) inverse x 1 which belongs to theset G and satisfies x 1 x e xx 1 .Definition 2.2. An abelian group is a group G such that for all x, y G,xy yx. (In this case, xy has an invisible operator, which could either be x yor x y, but not both at the same time).Definition 2.3. A symmetric group, Sn , is the set of the permutations of nelements {x1 , . . . , xn }.4

Let us look at an example of symmetric group. List notation is used todescribe a set, {[s1 ], [s2 ], . . . , [sn ]}, where s1 , . . . , sn are the elements of theset. Using list notation, we can express the symmetric group of the elements{x1 , x2 , x3 }:S3 {[x1 , x2 , x3 ], [x1 , x3 , x2 ], [x2 , x1 , x3 ], [x2 , x3 , x1 ], [x3

In order to understand origami construction, we will need to understand some of the most basic folds that can be created. The following is the de nition given by Auckly and Cleveland of origami pair. This de nition is the basis of what we mean by \origami" in this paper: De nition 3.1. fP;Lgis an

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