Science

Collection

The MIT Museum Science Collection includes historic artifacts documenting key scientific discoveries as well as instruments and apparatus for teaching from test tubes to the prototype of the LIGO interferometer.

Collection Highlights

David A. Huffman Collection

David A. Huffman is best known for his work in computer science, particularly the lossless compression method he developed while a graduate student at MIT. In the paperfolding and origami community he is also well known for his pioneering work with curved crease paperfolding.  Paperfolding is closely related to origami, both involve folding paper or other similar substrates to create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional forms. Origami is used to refer to the Japanese tradition of paperfolding which emphasis figurative while paperfolding is used to refer to the Western tradition, which is more abstract and practical. Huffman never used the term origami to describe his work always using paperfolding.

The David A. Huffman Collection at the MIT Museum consists of 108 finished models, 90 working paper models, 126 flat folded models, 1 note card box, 2 oversized boxes of archival material, and 5 linear feet of archival material. The finished models are defined as models made of vinyl or metal or made of quality paper and framed or mounted. Working paper models are defined as models made out of graph paper and/or with visible fold lines. The finished models include 10 paper models, 96 vinyl models and two metal sculptures. Of the 96 models, 60 use curved creases and 46 use straight creases and 13 are framed, 41 are mounted or have a hanger, and 42 are not mounted at all. The working paper models include 9 curved crease models and 81 straight crease models mostly made of graph paper.

MIT’s Pioneering Maser/Laser Technologies, 1954–Present.