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How Many times Can You Fold a Piece of Paper?

Any time you hear someone say that teenagers have nothing to teach adults, think about Britney Gallivan. In 2002, Britney took a 3,937-foot-long (1,200 m) sheet of toilet paper and folded it 12 times, thus single-handedly disproving the long-held belief that seven is the maximum number of times any piece of paper can be folded. But Britney wasn't satisfied with a simple demonstration. Instead, the high schooler from Pomona, California, developed an equation to show the length and thickness a piece of paper needs to be in order to fold it a certain number of times.

Britney's 12 folds held the world record for 10 years, until a group of students beat the record by one fold in 2012. Still, Britney Gallivan will be remembered not only for ruining all of those trivia cards that list seven as the maximum number of times a piece of paper can be folded, but also for proving that teenagers can achieve amazing things .

Put it down on paper:

  • For every ton of paper we recycle, 17 trees are saved.
  • The United States and Canada produce the most paper in the world, followed by Finland, Japan, and Sweden.
  • Origami, the art of folding paper, was invented in Japan in the sixth century for ceremonial purposes.
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