Origami Cosmic Web

Three individuals on the Origami Cosmic Web team talk while examining folded tracing paper

In the current, observationally successful picture of how the Universe developed, there is an origami analogy that is helpful in understanding the formation of the “cosmic web” arrangement of galaxies. The cosmic web is the cellular, foam-like arrangement of galaxies in the Universe; they line the edges of vast voids. This web, or VIPERS field (a map of galaxy locations spanning a vast distance) is the subject of a unique origami model by Mark Neyrinck, professor in the JHU Physics and Astronomy department. Neyrinkck led an intersession class in January 2015 focusing on the overlap of origami and astronomy, and built numerous models depicting these complex fields of space.

The models were fabricated at the DMC, using a large-format inkjet printer to print folding lines and galactic data onto glassine paper.

For more information on Neyrinck’s work, see his article on the Huffington Post.


Two students work over a table and their Origami Cosmic Web made of glassine paper.

A close up of a student's hands carefully folding glassine paper over top a light box.

A group of students look at and discuss their work of a cosmic web made of glassine paper.

An overhead view of the Origami Cosmic Web laying out on a light box.

The Origami Cosmic Web is laid out on a light box that is attached from a gallery wall.

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