The Scholars podcast is a show featuring scholars from the General Sir John Monash Foundation. Hosted by CEO of Mojo Media, Justin Kelly, he interviews the best, brightest, boldest and bravest across all fields of academia, business, science, humanities, and the arts. On today’s episode, Justin interviews origami engineer, Dr Joe Gattas.
Joe is a 2010 John Monash Scholar and Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland. He leads the ‘Folded Structures Lab’ research group, founded in 2014 at the University of Queensland, after completion of his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford in 2013. The group comprises six PhD candidates and 15 Undergraduate/Master’s thesis students, with $1.2 million in research and industry grants. Their research involves using origami design techniques to invent and improve thin-walled structures and devices. By utilising folded patterns, origami engineers can transform many sheet materials into efficient and easily-manufactured applications, with current applications already seen in deployable and modular housing; energy-absorbing packaging and barriers; and lightweight automobile and aircraft components. Joe is also a member of the Australian Research Council Future Timber Hub. The Hub is Australia’s leading timber research collaboration, bringing together experts from industry, government, and academia who are committed to the future development of tall timber buildings in the Pacific region.
In this episode, Joe chats with Justin about how he became fascinated with building, what he does as an origami engineer, what it was like studying at Oxford University, and his work at the Folded Structures Lab, including the lab’s pivot to creating origami inspired face masks during the pandemic.