Where the Wild Things Are: A Talk on Knot Theory

A talk by Ken Millett, Professor of Mathematics, UC Santa Barbara
Thursday, March 2, 7pm, at the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster St., New York

In this lecture, Dr. Ken Millett, a leading knot theorist and professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (interviewed by Margaret Wertheim in Cabinet no. 20) discussed the history, theory, and taxonomy of knots. As mathematicians have strived to categorize knots they have developed a wide range of techniques for representing and diagramming these enigmatic forms; Dr Millett explored the diversity of these methods which capture the logic of knotty structures in images at once visually striking and rigorously informed. Today, the insights of knot theory are being bought to bear on understanding the structure of macromolecules and to fundamental issues in theoretical physics, including string theory. The event included hands-on activities making knots and attempted to answer such questions as how much rope is required to make a specific knot, and how can we determine if two seemingly disparate knots might really be the same. The talk was followed by a Q & A moderated by Margaret Wertheim, Director of The Institute for Figuring, Los Angeles.

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