Peter Engel

From Academic Kids

Peter Engel (born 1959) is a science writer, graphic designer, and architect, perhaps best known as one of the foremost American origami artists and theorists.

Engel studied the history and philosophy of science as an undergraduate at Harvard University, where he began studying origami seriously under design scientist Arthur Loeb. In 1987 he graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in architecture.

Folding the Universe: Origami from Angelfish to Zen (1989) is his only book on origami to date. It is a highly unusual origami book in that besides the usual folding instructions, a significant portion was devoted to essays on the history of the craft as well as the theory. By exploring the relationship between art and science, and between creation, invention, and discovery, Engel provides unusual insights on the craft medium which has strict inherent constraints in favouring simple, geometric patterns and yet holds enough creative possibility within it to capture an unexpected range of complex forms. The book also contains an interview with the legendary Japanese origami artist Akira Yoshizawa.

Folding the Universe was later re-released as Origami from Angelfish to Zen.

Engel's writings on science have appeared in various publications including The New York Times, Discover, and Scientific American.

See also

Mathematics of origami

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