Knots, continued fractions and DNA

Research Horizons Seminar
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 - 12:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 255
Roland van der Veen – University of Amsterdam
Ian Palmer
In this introduction to knot theory we will focus on a class of knots called rational knots. Here the word rational refers to a beautiful theorem by J. Conway that sets up a one to one correspondence between these knots and the rational numbers using continued fractions. We aim to give an elementary proof of Conway's theorem and discuss its application to the study of DNA recombination. No knowledge of topology is assumed.