This Spring term, I am lucky to be able to teach Knot Theory to a class of 18 students. This is an intensive 4 week term, where we meet for 2 and a half hours 4 days each week. We are using An Interactive Introduction to Knot Theory by Inga Johnson and Allison Henrich. One of the exercises in the first chapter asked us to look at a knot diagram and work out the connected sum components. One of my students made the knot out of pipe cleaners, then manipulated it to give the following solution. I liked this model so much I just had to stick it up on my office window.
Alongside learning basic Knot Theory, the students are learning how to 3D-print knots. This involves learning how to model the knots as a solid 3-dimensional object in Cinema 4D. Cinema 4D is a professional 3D modeling and animation program, and is similar in feel to Blender. We then print the knots on the 3D printers in W&L’s IQ center. We are mostly using the Ultimaker and Stratasys printers. The class will be writing posts for this blog on the knots they construct – so stay tuned for more.