Tedori-Callinan Lecture Series: 2018

Murthy"Atomistically Inspired Origami"

Presented by: Richard D. James, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
10:45 a.m.
Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall



Sponsored by Penn Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. View past speakers in the series. Learn more about the sponsor of this series.


World population is growing approximately linearly at about 80 million per year. As time goes by, there is necessarily less space per person. Perhaps this is why the scientific community seems to be obsessed with folding things. We present a mathematical approach to “rigid folding” inspired by the way atomistic structures form naturally. Their characteristic features in molecular science imply desirable features for macroscopic structures, especially 4D structures that deform. Origami structures, in turn, suggest an unusual way to look at the Periodic Table.


Richard D. James is Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.  He has a Sc.B. in Engineering from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He has authored or co-authored 150 articles, has given 50 plenary or named lectureships, and was awarded the Humboldt Senior Research Award (2006/7), the Warner T. Koiter Medal from ASME (2008), the William Prager Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (2008), the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal (2009) and the Theodore von Karman prize from SIAM (2014).  James’ current research concerns the study of “Objective Structures”, a mathematical way of looking at the structure of matter, the hysteresis and reversibility of solid-solid phase transformations, and the direct conversion of heat to electricity using transformations in multiferroic materials.