COOL IMAGES: Knot a Pretty Site

Science  10 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5374, pp. 139
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5374.139d

“Knots keep our shoes on our feet, yet they're also highly developed abstract mathematics,” says Rob Scharein, a computer science postdoc at the University of British Columbia. Illustrating the latter concept is Scharein's KnotPlot (www.cs.ubc.ca/nest/imager/contributions/scharein/KnotPlot.html), a site devoted to mathematical knots—loopy shapes with theoretical underpinnings in algebraic topology. The site abounds with colorful images and animations of knots created with the help of Scharein's KnotPlot program, such as these Brunnian links (knots that reduce to a simple loop if any component part is removed). Visitors will also find links to other knot sites and a primer on knot theory, which deals with knot classification, chirality, and equivalence.

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