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Applications of Knot Theory in Physics

Applications of Knot Theory in Physics

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Published by Melvin Carter
Knot Theory in used to describe potential interactions as particles move from one spacetime to another.
Knot Theory in used to describe potential interactions as particles move from one spacetime to another.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Melvin Carter on May 10, 2013
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ApplicationsOfKnotTheoryInPhysics  
PhilipWalkerandMelvinCarte31April201
Introductio
Knotsandlinkshavehadamultitudeofapplicationsovertheyears.ThipaperdetailsthehistoryofKnotTheorydevelopment,theirapplicationsialgebraictopology,theinuenceoftheJonespolynomialontheexpansionof thestudyofknotsandphysicssimultaneously,andtheapplicationsfoundiSpecialRelativity(specicallyTopologicalQuantumFieldTheory).
TheBeginnings 
Alexander-TheophileVandermonderstdevelopedamathematicaltheoryof knotsin1771bynotingtheimportanceoftopologicalfeaturesinrelationtothe propertiesinknotsrelativetotheirgeometryofposition.VandermondewasFrenchmathematicianwhodidworkindeterminanttheoryandalsoworkedon symmetricfunctionsandsolutionsofcyclotomicpolynomials.Actualstudiesof knotswouldnotbeginuntilthe19thcenturywhenCarlFriedrichGaussdenethelinkingintegral.In1833GaussdevelopedtheGausslinkingintegralwhicisusedforcomputingthelinkingnumberoftwoknots.Thelinkingintegralidenediswelldened.Giventwonon-intersectingdierentiablecurves
γ 
1
,γ 
2
:
1
 
R
3
),wedenetheGaussma
fromthetorustothesphereby:
 
Γ
(
s,t
)
=
1
(
s
)
2
(
t
)
|
1
(
s
)
2
(
t
)
|
Pickapointintheunitsphere,
w
,sothatorthogonalprojectionofthelinktothe planeperpendiculart
w
givesalinkdiagram.Observethatapoint 
(
s,t
)
that goest
w
undertheGaussmapcorrespondstoacrossinginthelinkdiagram wher
γ 
1
isover 
γ 
2
.Also,aneighborhoodof 
(
s,t
)
ismappedundertheGausmaptoaneighborhoodof 
w
wheretheorientationiseitherpreservedorreversed dependingontheorientation.ThereforecountingthesignednumberoftimetheGaussmapcover
w
willcomputethelinkingnumberofthecorresponding diagram.TheresultingvaluewillbetheprecisedegreeoftheGaussmapduetthefactthat 
w
isaregularvalue.Anyotherregularvaluewouldgivethesamnumber,sothelinkingnumberdoesn'tdependonanyparticularlinkdiagram (Linkingcoecient).Thisformulationofthelinkingnumberof 
γ 
1
an
γ 
2
enables anexplicitformulaasadoublelineintegral,theGausslinkingintegral:
14
ˆ 
ˆ 
1
2
|
1
2
|
(
d
1
d
2
)
ThisintegralcomputesthetotalsignedareaoftheimageoftheGaussmap andthendividesby 
4
whichistheareaofthespher
[
1
]
.
ClassifyingKnot
In1860EnglishphysicistWilliamThompsonwasworkingonproblemswhicrelatedtothestructureofmatter.Atthetimethereweretwosideswithdifferingopinions;onesidesupportedCorpusculartheoryandthosewhothought matterwasasuperpositionofwavesdispersedinspacetime.Corpuscularthe- orystatesthatmatterconsistsofatoms,whereatomsarerigidandoccupyprecisepositioninspace.Bothofthesetheoriescanexplaincertainphenomena 
 
butareincompleteinthattheycannotexplainotherphenomena.Thompson wasabletondawaytocombinethesetheories;histheorystatedthatmatteconsistsofatoms.Theatoms,whichhereferstoasvortexatoms,arenotpoint likeobjectsbutrathertheyareknots.Thismeansthatanatomislikeawavthatbendsbackonitself.Theseknotscanbequitecomplicated,andthiswoulmeanthatmoleculesconsistofknotswhichareinterwoven.Interwovenknotarereferredtoaslinksbymathematicians 
[
][
]
.Thompsonbeganclassifyingknotsinordertodevelophistheoryfurther.Onceknotswereclassieditwouldbepossibletoclassifyatoms.OneofThomp- son'sfriends,PeterGuthrieTait,wasdeterminedtosolvethisproblem.Taistatedthatsinceaknotwasaclosedcurveinspaceitcouldberepresentedby aplanarcurveprojectedperpendicularlyonthehorizontalplane.Thesepro-  jectionswouldhavecrossingswhichtakeplacewhentwostrandsofthecurvcrosseachother.Figure1:InorderforTaittoclassifyknotshehadtorstdeterminewhichknotswerinthesameclassandthismeanthehadtodenetheequivalenceofknots.TodothisheformulatedTait'sconjecturesonalternatingknots.In1885Taipublishedatableofclassicationsforknotsthatwereuptotencrossings,thiwasknownastheTaitConjectures.Oneoftheseconjecturesisthatincertaicircumstancesthecrossingnumberwasaknotinvariant.Specically,thecross

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