The knot puzzle

Leaving the Galapagos behind and moving westward, 5,000 (nautical) knots to the next above-water land. What better time to start that leg of the Knot-geometry journey than playing a game called knot puzzle created a few years ago by Akio Karachi & Kendo Kishimoto, two mathematicians from Osaka U.

The puzzle ask me to identify each region and line up the crossing sections in a patch of unified bright color disks.

The knot puzzle I selected is closely related to the 6.2 crossing knot one of 3 prime knots with six crossings. It is alternating, chiral, and invertible.

In the third dimension, this knot is associated with the Borromean rings. Composed of three interconnected rigs, it creates a perplexing figure as no two of the rings are linked with each other, yet all three are linked together.

The open ended version of the 6.2 knot, the stevedore, or docker knot can be found on many shipping docks around the world.

Culturally, it figures in Kolam, an Asian geometrical line drawing tradition drawing rice powder pattern on the floor of the house to invites birds and other small creatures to eat it, thus welcoming other beings into one’s home and everyday life: a daily tribute to harmonious co-existence.

From the House of Borromeo to Indian floors and shipping docs,  this knot demonstrates quite unusual but very versatile qualities.


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