From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Modern Science of Origami

A lecture by Robert J. Lang

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
2:00-3:30 pm
Science & Engineering Library Events Room
Geisel Library, 1st Floor, East Wing

The the S&E Library proudly presents this lecture, the last in a series of events collectively called Engineering Origami. We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of IEEE in making this event possible.

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The last decade of this past century has been witness to a revolution in the development and application of mathematical techniques to origami, the centuries-old Japanese art of paper-folding. The techniques used in mathematical origami design range from the abstruse to the highly approachable. In this talk, Dr. Lang will describe how geometric concepts led to the solution of a broad class of origami folding problems – specifically, the problem of efficiently folding a shape with an arbitrary number and arrangement of flaps, and along the way, enabled origami designs of mind-blowing complexity and realism, some of which you’ll see, too. As often happens in mathematics, theory originally developed for its own sake has led to some surprising practical applications. The algorithms and theorems of origami design have shed light on long-standing mathematical questions and have solved practical engineering problems. Dr. Lang will discuss examples of how origami has enabled safer airbags, Brobdingnagian space telescopes, and more.

The lecture is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.

Register here.

Robert J. Lang is recognized as one of the foremost origami artists in the world as well as a pioneer in computational origami and the development of formal design algorithms for folding. With a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Caltech, he has, during the course of work at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spectra Diode Laboratories, and JDS Uniphase, authored or co-authored over 80 papers and 45 patents in lasers and optoelectronics as well as authoring, co-authoring, or editing 14 books and a CD-ROM on origami. He is a full-time artist and consultant on origami and its applications to engineering problems but keeps his toes in the world of lasers, most recently as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics from 2007–2010. He received Caltech’s highest honor, the Distiguished Alumni Award, in 2009 and in 2013 was elected as one of the inaugural Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.


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Recent UCSD Bioengineering Articles

Some recent articles by faculty in the Department of Bioengineering

Chan, E. F.; Farnsworth, C. L.; Koziol, J. A.; Hosalkar, H. S.; Sah, R. L., Statistical shape modeling of proximal femoral shape deformities in Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and slipped capital femoral epiphysis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2013, 21 (3), 443-449.

Chang, C. W.; Hwang, Y. S.; Brafman, D.; Hagan, T.; Phung, C.; Varghese, S., Engineering cell-material interfaces for long-term expansion of human pluripotent stem cells. Biomaterials 2013, 34 (4), 912-921.

DeLano, F. A.; Hoyt, D. B.; Schmid-Schonbein, G. W., Pancreatic Digestive Enzyme Blockade in the Intestine Increases Survival After Experimental Shock. Science Translational Medicine 2013, 5 (169).

Dutkowski, J.; Kramer, M.; Surma, M. A.; Balakrishnan, R.; Cherry, J. M.; Krogan, N. J.; Ideker, T., A gene ontology inferred from molecular networks. Nature Biotechnology 2013, 31 (1), 38-45.

Hightower, C. M.; Vazquez, B. Y. S.; Cabrales, P.; Tsai, A. G.; Acharya, S. A.; Intaglietta, M., Plasma expander and blood storage effects on capillary perfusion in transfusion after hemorrhage. Transfusion 2013, 53 (1), 49-59.

Hyduke, D. R.; Lewis, N. E.; Palsson, B. O., Analysis of omics data with genome-scale models of metabolism. Molecular Biosystems 2013, 9 (2), 167-174.

Mercola, M.; Colas, A.; Willems, E., Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Cardiovascular Drug Discovery. Circulation Research 2013, 112 (3), 534-548.

Metallo, C. M.; Vander Heiden, M. G., Understanding Metabolic Regulation and Its Influence on Cell Physiology. Molecular Cell 2013, 49 (3), 388-398.

Rao, N.; Evans, S.; Stewart, D.; Spencer, K. H.; Sheikh, F.; Hui, E. E.; Christman, K. L., Fibroblasts influence muscle progenitor differentiation and alignment in contact independent and dependent manners in organized co-culture devices. Biomedical Microdevices 2013, 15 (1), 161-169.

Sonnenberg, A.; Marciniak, J. Y.; McCanna, J.; Krishnan, R.; Rassenti, L.; Kipps, T. J.; Heller, M. J., Dielectrophoretic isolation and detection of cfc-DNA nanoparticulate biomarkers and virus from blood. Electrophoresis 2013, 34 (7), 1076-1084.

Vincent, L. G.; Choi, Y. S.; Alonso-Latorre, B.; del Alamo, J. C.; Engler, A. J., Mesenchymal stem cell durotaxis depends on substrate stiffness gradient strength. Biotechnology Journal 2013, 8 (4).

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The art and science of origami – Spring events at the S&E Library

The Science & Engineering Library is pleased to present a series of events during the Spring of 2013
which we’re collectively calling Engineering Origami.
Please join us for one or all of these exciting activities!

 Origami Contest – Enter your origami creation in our Spring Origami Contest.  Deadline for submissions: May 10.

Between the Folds – Join us for two screenings of this stunning documentary on the art of origami and contemporary origami artists.  May 1 and May 7.  Details here.

Exploring Origami – Drop by the S&E Library and make origami with Bruce Gemmell, local origami enthusiast and teacher at the Reuben Fleet Science Center.  May 6.

Robert Lang Lecture – Engineer and origami artist will speak on “From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Modern Science of Origami.”  May 22.

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SIO books now in Geisel Library

All the monographs from the SIO Library collection have been moved to the Geisel Library building. They are housed in a separate location in the East wing, 1st floor of Geisel (after the journals with LC call numbers Q-Z).

Eventually the books will be interfiled with the rest of the print collections in Geisel, the GC’s going to the 6th floor, with the Q-Z’s remaining on the 1st floor, East Wing.

If you are an SIO graduate student/faculty/staff, you may page books using Roger request.  Articles from print 0nly journals or other materials will be scanned and sent to you.  See for links and more information.

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Library Award Winners at JSOE Research Expo

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Science & Engineering Library’s Award for Best Use of the Literature at the Jacobs School of Engineering Research Expo. Each won a $125 giftcard for the UCSD Bookstore, and their posters (along with others from the Expo) will be on display in the S&E Library through the Spring Quarter. Each is shown below receiving her prize from Mary Linn Bergstrom, Head of the S&E Library.








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Learn to make origami at the S&E Library

Back by popular demand!  If you missed this last week, here’s another chance to get your origami on!

Drop in and make origami with Bruce Gemmell, San Diego origami artist and teacher at the Reuben Fleet Science Center.  Bruce makes folding origami easy, with step-by-step instructions and plenty of encouragement.  Whether you’re new to origami or an expert, come learn, talk, fold, and de-stress.  This is the first in a series of events collectively called Engineering Origami  which we’re presenting during Spring Quarter.

Monday, April 22, 2013
Noon – 4:00 pm
Near the entrance to the S&E Library

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New Reaxys Interface

Elsevier has released a new interface for Reaxys, one of our core databases for chemical information–particularly synthesis and property data. There’s a link to the new interface in the upper right corner of the screen, and you can move between versions. However, you will lose whatever you’re currently working on.

We will have access to both versions until June 1, at which time Elsevier will shut down the old interface

A brief video and overview of the major changes are available here. You can also register for a 45-minute webinar.

Major changes:

  • Expanded content to include more journals as well as conference proceedings, editorials, books and other document types. They have also expanded the scope beyond the core chemistry journals to include engineering, pharmacology, life sciences. etc.
  • Streamlined query form. Search by substance/reaction, substance identifier, or literature. Or by data (reaction, physical, spectra, bioactivity, natural product) using the available search forms. And the indexes are still there you can the browse the available options for any field.
  • Analyze your search results as histograms, from reagents and product yield to the authors and journals.
  • An Autoplan option to automate some of the work in creating synthesis plans, including retrieval of multiple alternate plans.
  • You copy results (identification and structures, reactions, citations, data facts, synthesis plans) to a report that you can email.

If you have questions about the new interface or using Reaxys, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

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Standalone Structure Editor for SciFinder Available

Due to the various security issues related to Java, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) is temporarily offering a standalone version of the structure editor. Even with Java disabled on your browser, you can still draw structures and reactions, save them, and search on them in SciFinder.

For links to the Windows and Mac downloads, and instructions on using the editor with SciFinder:

CAS plans to release an alternative to the plugin-based editor this summer.

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BrowZine Trial – Browse journals on your iPad

Have an iPad?  Help the Library evaluate a new research tool that is being considered for possible subscription.

The UC Libraries have set up a trial for BrowZine, an iPad app that lets you create a “bookshelf” of your favorite journals. Browse tables of contents, read articles, and send to EndNote, Zotero, Dropbox or whatever app you use to organize and manage your papers.

If you want to give it a test spin, search for “BrowZine” in the App Store and download the app for free; when initially launching BrowZine, select UC San Diego from the drop down list.

  • This trial ends April 30, 2013.
  • We would appreciate your feedback while we consider subscribing to this service.  After trying BrowZine, please fill out this short survey.

More information about BrowZine:

  • Introductory video
  • Included and soon-to-be included publishers
  • Recent review in Chronicle of Higher Education, with iPad screencaps of BrowZine in action
  • The CDL page about the trial, with a list of known issues

Cambridge Structural Database 2013

The 2013 edition of Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) is available for download.

  • Uninstall the 2012 version before installing 2013.
  • Download times for 3GB zip file will may vary.
  • You will need the site and confirmation codes listed on the website (select UCSD) when you run CSD on your computer for the first time.

We also have WebCSD, a “lighter” online version of CSD.

Use of CSD is restricted to UC San Diego faculty, staff and students for teaching and research only.

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