Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String

The IG Nobel Prize honours achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology. This years PHYSICS PRIZE went to Dorian Raymer of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and Douglas Smith of the University of California, San Diego, USA, for proving mathematically that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.

Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string
It is well known that a jostled string tends to become knotted; yet the factors governing the “spontaneous” formation of various knots are unclear. We performed experiments in which a string was tumbled inside a box and found that complex knots often form within seconds. We used

Another article on something similar is The Tangled Web of Self-Tying Knots

Mathematician Leopold Kronecker stated “God created the integers, all else is the work of man,” alluding to the fact that the natural numbers most likely arose from physical counting, as in one's fingers or goats in the pasture. Topology, however, is arguably a different creature altogether and may have had its own independent origins from the physical world in the ubiquitous knot—something that cannot be undone without using the free ends because the individual strands cannot move through each other

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