University News

University Professor Thomas C. Hull Publishes New Book

Published: March 04, 2021 | Categories: All News, Faculty, Arts and Sciences

Origametry: Mathematical Methods in Paper Folding

Photo of Hull's Five Intersecting Tetrahedra model, a star-like structure, featured on the cover of his new book.

Associate Professor of Mathematics at Western New England University, Dr. Thomas C. Hull, has recently published his latest book, Origametry: Mathematical Methods in Paper Folding (Cambridge University Press, November 2020).

In his book, Hull takes a deep dive into the math behind origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. "This is the first book of its kind," said Dr. Hull. "Origami can be studied with math in many ways, such as using geometry, calculus, or matrices. This is the first book that brings all these different approaches together to streamline them into a cohesive theory."

Hull's research uses graph theory, combinatorics, geometry, and other areas of math, with applications in engineering, materials science, art, and education. He is a leading expert on the mathematics of origami having given talks on this topic all over the world.

"Interest in origami has been increasing over the past eight years, especially among engineers and physicists," said Dr. Hull. "They see origami-inspired mechanisms as novel ways to do things like deploy large structures—such as solar panel arrays - into outer space or to make nano-scale robots. This book gathers the math needed to study such applications in one place."

Hull has been practicing origami since he was eight years old and studying the mathematics behind origami for the past 30 years. He holds both a Ph.D. and a master’s in Mathematics from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s in Mathematics from Hampshire College.

Several of the origami models that he has invented are well-known among origami artists including his Five Intersecting Tetrahedra model, a star-like structure, featured on the cover of his new book, which the British Origami Society voted as being one of the top 10 origami models of all-time.

"The book took over 10 years to write," said Dr. Hull. "In addition to the fundamentals of origami-math, it also contains research that I did with undergraduate students at Western New England University." Dr. Hull often brings the art of origami into his math classes, and every year he has undergraduate students working with him on origami-related research. In the Fall 2021 semester, Dr. Hull will offer a math course at Western New England University on the mathematics of origami using his new book as a guide.

"Faculty like Dr. Hull who take part in research and discovery are actively participating in their field and have access to cutting-edge insight in the subject matter they teach," said WNE Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Curt Hamakawa. "By sharing that insight in the classroom–in this case incorporating origami lines and 3-D configurations to teach math—they bring life to the academic world and provide the opportunity for students to witness the evolution of an industry."

To learn more about Dr. Hull's latest book visit Cambridge University Press at