Knot theory is dealing with embedding of curves in manifolds of dimension 3. A knot is a single circle embedded in the affine space of dimension 3 as a smooth curve not crossing itself. Many knot invariants are known and can be used to distinguish knots.

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Are there any very hard unknots?

Some years ago I took a long piece of string, tied it into a loop, and tried to twist it up into a tangle that I would find hard to untangle. No matter what I did, I could never cause the later me any ...
12
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3answers
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Proof of the Reidemeister theorem

While preparing for my introduction to topology course, I've realized that I don't know where to find a detailed proof of the Reidemeister theorem (two link diagrams give isotopic links, iff they can ...
2
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1answer
190 views

Min Bend Orthogonal Knots

I am seeking literature on 3D orthogonal drawings of knots, especially minimum bend drawings. An orthogonal drawing employs segments parallel to the axes of a Cartesian coordinate system. A bend is a ...
39
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2answers
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Prime numbers as knots: Alexander polynomial

A naive and idle number theory question from a topologist (but not a knot theorist): I have heard it said (and this came up recently at MO) that there is a fruitful analogy between Spec $\mathbb Z$ ...
13
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1answer
2k views

What is the knot associated to a prime?

I can't help but ask this question, having found out about arithmetic topology here on MO. There is a concise description of the MKR dictionary central to this philosophy here. This dictionary is used ...
46
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4answers
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Tying knots with reflecting lightrays

Let a lightray bounce around inside a cube whose faces are (internal) mirrors. If its slopes are rational, it will eventually form a cycle. For example, starting with a point $p_0$ in the interior of ...
31
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9answers
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In knot theory: Benefits of working in $S^3$ instead of $\mathbb{R}^3$?

In several textbooks on knot theory (e.g. Lickorish's, Rolfsen's) knots are considered in $\mathbb{R}^3$ or $S^3$. The reason for working in $S^3$ is sometimes given at the beginning of a text as that ...
33
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2answers
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Knot security (When to trust your life with a knot)

This question is related to a a question about self-tightening knots. I am supervising a senior thesis and my student is interested in knots. My student is also a rock climber and has an ...
13
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2answers
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What's about “quantum modular forms”?

Do you know where one could read on "Modular Forms, K-theory and Knots"? The combination of themes sounds thrilling! Edit: Zagier's paper on "quantum modular forms" will be published in Clay's ...
16
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3answers
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Complete knot invariant?

I've seen a couple papers (that I now can't find) that say that in his paper "On irreducible 3-manifolds which are sufficiently large" Waldhausen proved that the data $\pi_1(\partial (S^3\setminus K)) ...
15
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2answers
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How many definitions are there of the Jones polynomial?

Even with the connection to quantum groups being made clearer (I believe it was not known when the Jones polynomial was first introduced), it seems to me that still we don't have the "right" ...
26
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3answers
989 views

Random knot on six vertices

This question is inspired by Joseph O'Rourke's beautiful question on random knots. Choose an random ordered 6-tuple of points on the unit sphere in $\mathbf{R}^3$, and form a knot by connecting ...
14
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5answers
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can you fool SnapPea?

A while back I thought I had some simple knots that "fooled" SnapPea. But I no longer remember those examples, if I ever had them to begin with. What I'm looking for is a non-hyperbolizable knot ...
8
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0answers
311 views

What is (explicitly) known about the SL(n,C) character varieties of 3-manifolds ?

The $SL(2,{\bf C})$ character variety of a 3-manifold with 1-cusp $M$ (like a knot complement in the 3-sphere) essentially coincide with the variety defined by the A-polynomial. Those polynomials are ...
3
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1answer
192 views

A k-component link defines a map T^k --> Conf_k S^3. Does the homotopy type capture Milnor's invariants?

A k-component link defines a map T^k --> Conf_k S^3. Does the homotopy type of this map capture the Milnor invariants? Some ...
7
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1answer
166 views

Is there a combinatorial version of PL ambient isotopy in dimension $>3$?

The classical PL Reidemeister Theorem reads: Reidemeister Theorem: Two knots in $S^3$ are PL ambient isotopic if and only if any diagram of one can be transformed into a diagram of the other by ...
9
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3answers
304 views

Invariants of high-dimensional knots

In the study of knots in three dimensions, it can be shown that the fundamental group together with a specification of a meridian and longitude form a complete invariant for knots. What is known about ...
8
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0answers
139 views

Does the shortest path between two braids pass through string links?

One of the fundamental facts underlying the application of braid theory to knot theory is that braids inject into string links. This means that braids $B_1$ and $B_2$, considered inside a cube $I^3$, ...
2
votes
2answers
493 views

How to compute the Alexander polynomial of general torus knot

Hello, i am very interested in knot theory, especially in knot groups and knot polynomials. Therefore i am reading the book of Crowell and Fox (Introduction to knot theory). I want to compute some ...
2
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1answer
270 views

Why Tristram-Levine signature jumps at the zeros of alexander polynomial?

It seems easy but I can't prove it. Can anyone give proof or reference?