Designing a Pop-Up Future

January 28, 2016

Various shapes made from Miura-ori pattern (Image courtesy of Mahadevan Lab)

Origami describes rules for creating folded structures from patterns on a flat sheet, but does not prescribe how patterns can be designed to fit target shapes. In an article in Nature Materials*, Prof. L. Mahadevan and colleagues from SEAS and University of Tokyo describe their use of origami folds, or tessellations, to program curvature for creating various pop-up objects.


Biomimetic 4D Printing

January 26, 2016

Simple flowers composed of 90°/0° bilayers oriented with respect to the long axis of each petal, with time-lapse sequences of the flowers during the swelling process (bottom panel). [Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Materials ©2016]


What The Physics?!

January 22, 2016

Harvard Physics grad Greg Kestin (PhD 2014) has published the first video in a new "What The Physics?!" series. Each episode will explore 'something surprising or really interesting related to physics. Like the science behind the movie "Interstellar," or exploring what real parallel universes might be like… basically, things that make you go, What The Physics?!'

The first episode demonstrates an effect of one tablespoon of olive oil on half an acre of waves on a lake. 


Soft Hair on Black Holes

January 12, 2016
Artist's rendering of a black hole

Image Credit: MASA/JPL-Caltech

In the mid 1970s, Stephen Hawking made a string of unnerving discoveries about black holes—that they could evaporate, even explode, and destroy all information about what had fallen in. Physicists spent the next 40 years sorting through the wreckage. Then last year, at a conference in Stockholm, Hawking said that he and his collaborators were close to a solution to the so-called black-hole information paradox.