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Folding a paper

  1. Jun 3, 2003 #1
    folding paper

    Why can't we fold a piece of paper more than 8 times, no matter how large it is?

    PS I've seen this question in another forum quite a long time ago but no one seems to know why. Some claimed that it can be explained by using some chemistry principles while others said it is related to math.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2003 #2


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    Try it...with standard thickness paper, it just gets too thick/small to fold. Even with a large sheet, the powers-of-2 still rapidly cut the size down and make it unfoldable. (I'm sure there's a more elegant explanation than that, but that's all I have time for at the moment!)

    But I think it can be done with thinner paper.
  4. Jun 3, 2003 #3


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    If someone offered you $20 a day for a month or $.01 the first day, $.02 the second, $.04 the third, etc., which would you choose?

    And how many pieces of paper would you be folding that 8th time?

    Ahh, the power of exponents.
  5. Jun 3, 2003 #4
    Yeah, I thought of it too when I was on my way back home from school.

    However, as long as the dimensions aren't negative (and it will never be negative by folding), I think we can fold it, not by human but by machines. I think it is we who aren't strong enough to fold it, but not machines.
  6. Jun 3, 2003 #5

    Well, 2 to the power of 30 is roughly 1,000,000,000
    so you would make roughly $20, 000, 000 the second way versus $600 the first.

    I know which one I would choose.
  7. Jun 3, 2003 #6
    Re: folding paper

    do we know it's impossible. they should make a machine do it. you know, without stubby little fingers!
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