MAA Writing Awards
Enhanced Linking Numbers
Year of Award: 2004
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, May 2003, pp. 361-385
Summary: The study of knots and links begins with simple intuitive problems but quickly leads to sophisticated mathematics. This paper will provide the reader with an accessible route that begins with basic knot theory and leads into interesting realms of modern research.
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About the Author: (from The American Mathematical Monthly, (2003)), Charles Livingston studied mathematics as an undergraduate at UCLA and MIT; his graduate study was done under the direction of Rob Kirby at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in 1980. Following an instructorship at Rice University he moved to his present position on the mathematics faculty at Indiana University. In his first effort to bring an appreciation of knot theory to a wider audience, Livingston wrote the book Knot Theory for the MAA Carus Series in 1993. In addition to studying knots and links, Livingston has worked at improving the education of journalists in mathematics and statistics; in joint work with Paul Voakes, a colleague in the IU School of Journalism, he is writing a book for practicing journalists and journalism students.