Why knot?

Your shoelaces aren’t knotted, but your DNA is.

The aesthetic appeal of knots has been recognised for millennia, but mathematicians started to study knots seriously only in the 1800s. Mathematical knots are curves in three-dimensional space, and like their physical counterparts made of string, they can flop and stretch and twist - the only thing prohibited is cutting. This flexibility generates rich intrinsic structures as well as connections to geometry, algebra, and physics.

This talk will explain why you can multiply knots but not add them, and why knot theory may be the key to understanding the shape of the universe.

About the speaker

Dr Joan Licata is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the Australian National University. Her research is in low-dimensional topology and contact geometry, with a focus on Legendrian submanifolds, Heegaard Floer theory, knot theory, and three-manifolds.

if you have any special dietary requirements, please send an email to macarena.rojas@anu.edu.au. 

Special building tour

As part of this event, we want to invite our Alumni & Friends to a special tour of the facilities of the new Hanna Neumann building. This tour will commence at 5pm at the building entrance and will finish with the speaker’s presentation at 5.30pm.

If you're interested in attending this tour, please send an email to macarena.rojas@anu.edu.au.