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108Knot Theory

Knot theory is a relatively new branch of mathematical research. In the 1880s, Lord Kelvin proposed to model atoms as knots of vertices in the ether. Although this model was not very successful (the existence of ether was disproved in the Michelson-Morley Experiment, laying the foundations for Einstein’s special relativity), knot theory remained a vivid area of mathematics research, and its applications e.g. for physics are far from being given up, including brand new areas like quantum computation.

Knot theory many areas which are accessible even for undergraduates. From the physical point of view, we construct a knot by taking a segment of rope or a cord, knotting it and fusing the endpoints. A more strict definition from the mathematical point of view is that a knot is a closed loop in three-dimensional space.

Theoretical minimum (in a nutshell)

To start studying knot theory, you should be already acquainted with the following:

Concepts you will learn in this part of BookofProofs

  • How to represent knots using Reidemeister moves, Gauss diagrams, and algebraic structures called quandles?
  • What are knot invariants and why they are important for the classification of knots?
  • How to define different equivalence classes of knot diagrams and which different knot theories result from that approach?
  • Methods of knot construction.
  • Which are the still unsolved problems concerning the classification of knots you are invited to do research for?

| | | | Contributors: bookofproofs | References: [6357]

63581.Definition: Knot Diagram, Classical Crossing, Virtual Crossing

63592.Definition: Reidemeister Moves, Planar Isotopy Moves, Diagrammatic Moves

63623.Definition: Knot

63644.Definition: Unknot

63605.Proposition: Equivalent Knot Diagrams


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Bibliography (further reading)

[6357] Dye, Heather: “An Invitation to Knot Theory”, CRC Press, 2016

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