Low Dimensional Topology

October 6, 2008

Knot theory in the news

Filed under: Knot theory — Jesse Johnson @ 10:47 am

Here’s another link: The 2008 ignoble prizes were announced a few days ago.  (These are for research that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.)  Among the list of winners are two physicists who showed experimentally (with the help of the Jones polynomial) that rope tends to get tangled up.  Here’s the abstract in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science.  Basically, they tumbled rope inside a box, then calculated the Jones polynomials of the resulting tangle in order to determine how knotted it was.  I seem to remember hearing about this experiment a while ago (the paper is from 2006) but I don’t recall if it ever made it to the blog circuit.

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