Mathematics, stick knots, stick numbers, knot theory
Applied Mathematics | Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics
People besides sailors and hangman first became interested in the study of knots in the late 1800s when Lord Kelvin decided that atoms were simply knots in the "ether" that made up all of space. This hypothesis motivated a Scottish physicist named Peter Guthrie Tait to try and tabulate all different types of knots, as in doing so, he would create a complete table of the elements. By the end of the nineteenth century, chemists had determined that the universe was indeed not made up of "ether," and so lost interest in the study of knots. The interest of mathematics, however, had been piqued, and Knot Theory was born.
Department 1 Awarding Honors Status
Dorman, C. (1997). Stick Knots, Stick Numbers, and the Process of Doing Mathematics (Undergraduate honors thesis, University of Redlands). Retrieved from https://inspire.redlands.edu/cas_honors/704