Strange Loop

September 26-28 2018

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Stifel Theatre

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St. Louis, MO

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Strange loops: capturing knots with powerful notations

Mathematician John Conway once boasted that one of his predecessors took six years (!) to enumerate all 54 knots of a certain type, but that his own powerful notation "made this just one afternoon's work."

How did Conway accomplish this feat? and what tradeoffs did he have to make? and what good is knot theory, anyway?

In this talk, I will enumerate all the knots of <= 7 crossings by using notations of two different schools of knot theory: Conway's, and that of his predecessor Clifford Dowker. Along the way, we will examine the quality of the notations, and ask how serializing a knot into text allows us to think about it more systematically.

Katherine Ye

Student at Princeton

Katherine likes to study weird interdisciplinary things and powerful notations.