Physical Knots: Knotting, Linking and Folding Geometric Objects in R 3

The properties of knotted and linked configurations in space have long been of interest to physicists and mathematicians. More recently and more widely, they have become important to biologists, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers. The depth and breadth of their applications are widely appreciated. Nevertheless, fundamental and challenging questions remain to be answered. Based on a Special Session at the AMS Sectional Meeting in Las Vegas (NV) in April 2001, this volume discusses critical questions and introduces new ideas that will stimulate multi-disciplinary applications.Some of the papers are primarily theoretical; others are experimental. Some are purely mathematical; others deal with applications of mathematics to theoretical computer science, engineering, physics, biology, or chemistry. Connections are made between classical knot theory and the physical world of macromolecules, such as DNA, geometric linkages, rope, and even cooked spaghetti. This book introduces the world of physical knot theory in all its manifestations and points the way for new research. It is suitable for a diverse audience of mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, biologists, chemists, and physicists.