Origami Artist Robert Lang Coming to Gustavus

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by

Robert Lang

Robert J. Lang, a physicist who is recognized as one of the world’s leading masters of the art of origami, will complete a three-week residency as the Rydell Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The Rydell Professorship is a scholar-in-residence program designed to bring Nobel laureates and similarly distinguished scholars to the Gustavus campus as catalysts for enhancing learning and teaching. It was established in 1995 by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell of Minnetonka, Minn., to give students the opportunity to learn from and interact with leading scholars.

Lang’s residency will be broken up into two stints. He will be on campus Jan. 17-28 to co-teach a January Interim Experience course titled “Mathematics of Origami,” along with Gustavus faculty members Barbara Knight Kaiser and Carolyn Dobler. Lang will then return to Gustavus the week of March 7 for a series of public events yet to be determined.

Lang has been an avid student of origami for more than 40 years and has more than 500 designs catalogued and diagrammed. He is noted for designs of great detail and realism, and includes in his repertoire some of the most complex origami designs ever created. His work has been shown in exhibitions in New York (Museum of Modern Art), Paris (Carrousel du Louvre), Salem (Peabody Essex Museum), San Diego (Mingei Museum of World Folk Art), and Kaga, Japan (Nippon Museum of Origami), among others.

In 1992, Lang became the first Westerner ever invited to address the Nippon Origami Association’s annual meeting. He lectures widely on origami and its connections to mathematics, science, and technology, and teaches workshops on both artistic techniques and applications of folding in industrial design. Lang is also the author or co-author of nine books and numerous articles on origami art and design.

Before pursuing his current career as a full-time origami artist and consultant, Lang worked as a physicist, engineer, and research and development manager, during which time he authored or co-authored more than 80 technical publications and had 50 patents awarded or pending on semiconductor lasers, optics, and integrated optoelectronics.

Lang holds a B.S. and Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where in 2009 he received the institution’s highest honor – the Distinguished Alumni Award.

For more information about Lang’s residency at Gustavus, contact Barbara Knight Kaiser at 507-933-7541 or kaiser@gustavus.edu or contact Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Tom LoFaro at 507-933-7463 or tlofaro@gustavus.edu.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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