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The Geometry of the Space of Knotted Polygons

  • Author(s): Hake, Kathleen S.
  • Advisor(s): Millett, Kenneth
  • et al.
Abstract

For a positive integer n ≥ 3, the collection of n-sided polygons embedded in 3-space defines the space of geometric knots. We will consider the subspace of equilateral knots, consisting of embedded n-sided polygons with unit length edges. Paths in this space determine isotopies of polygons, so path-components correspond to equilateral knot types. When n ≤ 5, the space of equilateral knots is connected. Therefore, we examine the space of equilateral hexagons. Using techniques from symplectic geometry, we can parametrize the space of equilateral hexagons with a set of measure preserving action-angle coordinates. With this coordinate system, we provide new bounds on the knotting probability of equilateral hexagons. Additionally, we study physical properties of equilateral knots, especially thickness.

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