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A Knot’s Tale

A Knot’s Tale

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A Knot’s Tale

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  1. A Knot’s Tale Are you ready for the adventure?

  2. WARNING: This presentation contains flash pun-ography

  3. Based on a true story…

  4. A tale of friendship

  5. A tale of identity

  6. A tale of secrets

  7. “inversion” A tale of scandal “perversion” “screwing of all kinds”

  8. A tale of following your heart

  9. A tale of mathematics

  10. Produced on location in Edinburgh

  11. Starring… Knora as the beautiful trefoil knot

  12. Starring… Knorbert as the inquisitive figure-8 knot

  13. Starring… Peter Guthrie Tait as the Wonderful Wizard of Knots

  14. Featuring… Knathan as the lonely giant knot

  15. Featuring… Knotalie and Knotasha as the Perko pair

  16. Featuring… Lord Kelvin as the ideas man

  17. Featuring… James Clerk Maxwell as the best friend

  18. Featuring… and Julia Collins as the narrator

  19. With thanks to JariFowkesfor voiceover effects Andrew Ranickifor Tait research assistance Alexandra Tzella for discussions on vortices and Toby Bailey for help on the failed Möbius bubbles experiment

  20. Act I: Growing up

  21. Once upon a time, in the Knotterlands…

  22. There were two young knots called Knorbert and Knora. As they grew older they became best friends, despite looking a bit different.

  23. “Knora,” said Knorbert one day. “Do you think if I twist myself hard enough I can look like you?”

  24. And they twisted and turned all day but they couldn’t match themselves up.

  25. “How will we ever know for sure whether we’re different or the same?” said Knorbert.

  26. “It doesn’t matter anyway”, said Knora. “I’ll still be your friend.”

  27. The years went by, but the question never left Knorbert’s mind. One day, he heard a rumour…A rumour of the Wizard of Knots…

  28. “Hey Knora…” asked Knorbert, one autumn evening. “How do you fancy going on an adventure?”

  29. Meanwhile, closer to home…

  30. Two boys are born in Scotland in 1831, only a few months and miles apart.

  31. Both Tait and Maxwell lose a parent in their youth and are educated by another family member.

  32. They go to school at Edinburgh Academy and become friends, despite being in different years.

  33. Aged 16, they go to the University of Edinburgh to study mathematics and natural philosophy.

  34. After only a year, Tait decides he is ready for Cambridge and enters Peterhouse in 1848.Maxwell is left behind.

  35. In January 1852, Tait becomes the youngest ever person to be Senior Wrangler in the Tripos(aged 20 years and 8 months).

  36. After graduating, Tait wins a Fellowship at Peterhouse and begins coaching other students. “I could coach a coal scuttle to be Senior Wrangler!”

  37. Tait becomes a professor at Queen’s College, Belfast, while Maxwell becomes a professor at the University of Aberdeen.

  38. In 1859 the friends both apply for the newly vacant Chair of Natural Philosophy in Edinburgh. Only one of them can succeed…

  39. Act II: Adventure

  40. “Where will we find the Wizard of Knots?” asked Knora.“I’m not sure, but this brick road looks like it’s going somewhere,” said Knorbert.

  41. They walked on for many days, enjoying the crisp autumn air, the golden leaves on the ground, and the joy of each other’s company.

  42. One afternoon they heard a loud groaning noise in the air. Knora clung on to Knorbert in fear. What wild beast was this?

  43. Knorbert gingerly approached the noise. It seemed to be coming from behind a large bush. He drew a deep breath and jumped out…

  44. To his astonishment, he found a great giant of a knot, sobbing noisily to himself.

  45. “Oh, sorry,” exclaimed Knorbert. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”“What’s wrong?” asked Knora, who had come to see what was up.

  46. “Nobody loves me!” cried the giant. “I’m not like everyone else. I’m… I’m…” He hesitated.

  47. “What is it?” asked Knorbert?“I’m non-alternating!” And the giant started sobbing again.

  48. Knora and Knorbert looked at each other, confused.“What does that mean?” asked Knora gingerly.

  49. “It means that my strings don’t go over-under-over-under like yours do,” explained the giant.

  50. “Maybe you should come with us to see the Wizard of Knots,” said Knorbert.“Yes, maybe he can explain where you come from!” said Knora.