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On Folding Paper

i-e82a7e88013a2b386a8edab66857afe7-153720025_f11c5d0338_m.jpgHave you ever heard someone claim that a piece of paper can’t be folded in half more than seven times?

We had, and we were suspicious. So we thought about putting it to the brain trust, in the form of an ‘Ask a ScienceBlogger’ quesetion. Molecule of the Day responded immediately with a great anecdote about successfully folding a piece of paper in half not seven, but eight times, to win a bet in college.

He posted about his myth-busting triumph, here.

The upshot: with a piece of paper big enough, a lot of things are possible. Now could someone explain how this legend got started?

Image by atezrm


  1. #1 Bob
    June 6, 2007

    Speaking of myth-busting, this was on Mythbusters. Partly the answer depends on how you define “paper” and “fold”. Grant did it with thinner paper but without using the typical “rotate 90degrees and turn” method. I think if they had really “cheated” and used oversized onion skin paper it would have been much easier. 😉

    Check out:

  2. #2 cope
    June 6, 2007

    The Mythbusters folded a HUGE, thin piece of paper (actually, many strips of paper taped together) some 11 or 12 times on one of their shows. Granted, they did use a steamroller (what an anachronistic word) to flatten out the folds toward the end.

  3. #3 DBEllis
    June 21, 2007