On Distortion and Thickness of Knots*
What length of rope (of given diameter) is required to tie a particular knot ? Or, to turn the problem around, given an embedded curve, how thick a regular neighborhood of the curve also is embedded ? Intuitively, the diameter of the possible rope is bounded by the distance between strands at the closest crossing in the knot. But of course the distance between two points along a curve goes to zero as the points approach each other, so to make the notion precise, we need to exclude some neighborhood of the diagonal.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.