The Lister List

Scientific Origami

Meetings of Scientific Origami

I was at first puzzled by "Origami 1-2-3-4-5". My first thought was for
Robert Harbin's paperbacks which were published as "Origami 1", "Origami 2"
and "Origami3" Tthe first two appeared at times under different titles.) But
Robert Harbin never published an "Origami5".

Other people have also issued books with similar titles, such as Mick Guy's
"Origami One" (Mick always says that Harbin stole the title from him!)
Other writers have also published books with similar titles.

Then it dawned on me. What was being referred to were the books of
proceedings of the various Meetings of Scientific Origami. The proceedings
of the last three of the Meetings so far, have indeed been published under
the titles of "Origami 3", "Origami 4" and "Origami 5".

But the proceedings of the first two meetings were never published as
"Origami 1" or "Origami 2", so it is useless to search for them under these

The "First International Meeting of Origami Science and Technology" was held
at Ferrara in Italy on 6th and 7th December, 1989. it was organised by the
late lamented Humiki Huzita (Humi), a Japanese living in Italy, and was
attended by a small, but select number of invited people from both Europe
and Japan. The proceedings were published privately by Humi and could be
bought from him. But the supply was apparently exhausted before he died I do
not know how many copies were issued.. This book is now very rare and I
count myself extremely fortunate in having bought a copy from Humi. It The
Proceedings are important because they not only includes copies of the
papers read at the Meeting, but also historical papers about the the
publication of paperfolding to mathematics. In particular, the proceedings
reprint papers by Margherita Piazzolla Beloch, one of the pioneers in the

Because the First meeting took place some year before the development of the
recent widespread interest in mathematics and origami, interest in the
proceedings is now much greater than ever it was at the time of the Meeting
and it is most desirable that these proceedings should be reprinted. I
briefly discussed this possibility with Robert Lang a few moths ago and he
agreed but pointed out practical difficulties for this, not least the hoary
topic of copyright. A revised edition has been suggested, but this would
require copyright consent from all of the original contributors. On the
other hand, Robert thought that a reproduction of the original proceedings
might be possible., provided that consent could be obtained from Humi's

The Second International Meeting was held at Otsu, near Kyoto in Japan in
November and December 1994. It was a much bigger meeting than the First and
was attended by hundreds of people from Japan, Europe and North America. It
was a magnificent conference and very well organised. The Proceedings were
published nin 1997 as "Origami Science and Art" by the Seian Univeristy of
Art and Design. It is a weighty volume of larger format and thickness than
the proceedings of the other meetings. Because so many people attended the
Second Meeting, it may be presumed that many more copies were sold and
second-hand copies are still available. A reprint would be for the Seian
University to arrange, but there has never been any suggestion that this
might happen.

The Third International Meeting was held at Asiloma, California in
and the Proceedings, edited by Tom Hull, were published by A.K.Peters Ltd.
in 2002 under the title of "Origami 3".

The Fourth International Meeting was held at Pasadena, California in 2006
and the Proceedings, edited by Robert Lang were published by A.K.Peters Ltd.
In 2009 with the title of "Origami 4".

The Fifth International Meeting was held in Singapore in 2010 and the
Proceedings, edited by Patsy Wang-Iverson, Robert Lang and Mark Yim were
published by the CRC Press (who had taken over A.K.Peters Ltd) in 2011. The
title was "Origami 5"

Origami 3, Origami 4 and Origami 5 all reverted to the smaller format of the
First Proceedings. All three are still available.

The main outstanding question is whether it will be possible to reprint the
Proceedings of the First International Meeting. There is no doubt whatsoever
that this would be very desirable. The content is very important and with
the growth in interest in the mathematics and science of origami since1989,
(to a great extent brought about by that First Meeting), there would be a
considerable demand for such a reprint. But would the likely demand be big
enough? Such a reprint would require finance and it would need someone to
organise it. Could a fund be set up? Would the origami societies be prepared
to contribute? Are there any volunteers to do the work?

All I can say is that I hope so.

David Lister

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