About 15 years ago (I'm terrible with dates) I was working with my old friend
on a software project in the Bay Area. During that time Brent lent me a book on
that reinvented my view of mathematics. I found the whole concept of mathematical knots - the unknot, prime knots, knot polynomials, etc. fascinating. It forced me to revisit some basic skills that I had embarrassingly lost, and learn numerous new concepts. Brent was kind enough to spend time walking his slow friend through the concepts. The most important thing I took away from the experience was the realization that past a certain point, one that I never reached in school, math becomes really, really interesting. The
of knot theory:
Many years later I got a chance to work on a Java Swing knot visualization tool for students. The tool took declarative descriptions of knots and created projections (visualizations.) It supported knot invariants, diffs, Reidemeister moves and various other operations. No other project has caused as many brain sprains, and no other project has created as much satisfaction upon completion. What was your favorite project?
The 818 Knot
Image by Prof. Jason Cantarella