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The Mosely Snowflake Fractal

Unveiling and Exhibition Opening

The USC Libraries will unveil the Mosely Snowflake Fractal at a reception and exhibition opening on September 20 in USC's Doheny Memorial Library. Also on view will be Wertheim’s and Mosely’s design sketches and digital design documents, items from the libraries’ mathematics and science collections, and smaller origami modules that document the construction process. Light refreshments will be served at the reception, which begins at 5:00 p.m. RSVP online or by calling 213-740-1744.

Build Your Own Fractal

We hope you can join us at the September 20 unveiling, but if you're not in the Los Angeles area you can still create your own fractal origami artwork. Use these directions and your spare business cards to create a level-one Mosely Snowflake Fractal.

About the Project

The USC community has worked since February to bring this three-dimensional, mathematical art object into being for the first time in the history of the physical universe. Students, faculty, staff, origami folders, and mathematics enthusiasts built the fractal with more than 49,000 folded business cards. The cardinal-and-gold pattern of the fractal’s paneling is based on a volume of Euclid’s Elements from the USC Libraries’ collections

MIT-trained engineer Jeannine Mosely conceived the project, which is part of the USC Libraries Discovery Fellowship 2011-2012 programming curated by Discovery Fellow Margaret Wertheim. In 2008, Mosely constructed a model of the Menger Sponge—the first 3-D fractal discovered in 1926 by mathematician Karl Menger—out of 66,000 business cards. She later discovered a new 3-D fractal: the Mosely Snowflake, which the USC Libraries have now given form through the art of orgiami.

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