2011 Rydell Professorship

Featuring Robert J. Lang

Robert LangRobert J. Lang

Robert J. Lang holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology, has been an avid artist of origami, the art of paper folding, for over forty years. In 2001, he left his career as a distinguished physicist and engineer to become a full-time artist. Lang is one of the world's leading masters of his art form, and is a pioneer of the "cross-disciplinary marriage of origami and mathematics, equoting the biography on his website, langorigami.com. He has published widely on origami.

Lang's works have been shown in many prominent museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work was used for a remarkable 2006 advertisement for Mitsubishi as well as in an ad for McDonald's, and he was one of the featured artists in the award-winning 2008 documentary Between the Folds, recently featured on PBS' Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens. The 56-minute film will be shown continuously in a space adjacent to the exhibition, through the generosity of its writer and director Vanessa Gould.

Lang gave a public talk titled "From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Mathematics of Origami" on campus and at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Lang was the Robert and Susan Rydell Professorship of Gustavus Adolphus College for 2010-2011. The Rydell Professorship is a scholar-in-residence program established in 1995 by Drs. Robert and Susan Rydell of Minnetonka, Minnesota, to bring Nobel Conference presenters and other distinguished scholars to campus.