Friday March 7, 2003 in Immersive Media Lab, New Media Innovation Centre, SFU

12:00 noon

Speaker: Greg Buck
Chair of the Department and Associate Professor
of Mathematics at Saint Anselm College, NH.
(together with Rob Scharein, NewMIC)

Title: "The Knot Project: Combining New Media with Ancient Technology"

Abstract: The Knot Project is an ambitious program to bring the study of knots (and entanglement in general) to a wide audience in exciting and innovative ways. Although we start from a mathematical perspective, where knots can be viewed as primal shapes in the science of patterns, we intend to examine knotting and tangling in all its forms: hair braiding, sailor's knots, knots in magnetic flux tubes, friendship bracelets, DNA knots, weaving, knots in Manueline architecture, knots that keep our shoes on, and many others. Knots are ubiquitous. Even more, knots are cultural, artistic, and religious expressions. They are a bridge between the cultural and scientific ways of knowing.

The talk will be a highly interactive and informal presentation discussing several aspect of the Knot Project, including its cultural and scientific goals, science outreach aspects, museum exhibit plans, mathematical electronic games, and so forth. Since knots are so tactile and visual, meaningful activities can be distributed by print, television, or web media, or for quick implementation using at-home materials. Mathematics is the science of patterns; and knots are robust patterns whose simplicity and beauty provide an irresistible conduit to the mathematics. We will demonstrate various ways of looking at knots, from examples in real rope; one of the most ancient technologies, to virtual knots running in the CAVE using the software KnotPlot.