Get Unknotted

An orange and blue exhibit table, with a white and orange information panel at the back. Red yellow and blue steel bars rise out of the table top, and are bent into different shapes. A piece of white rope with a knot in it is threaded between the bars.

Topology puzzles explore patterns in space.

How it works

Thread a loop around two interlocking poles in this puzzle.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Can you move the rope loop over the metal pieces?
  • Start with the rope loop free of the poles. If the rope is tangled on the poles, undo the clip to release it.

Background

Topology is a branch of mathematics that investigates how objects form in three dimensional space.

Finding the science in your world

Topology can be applied to many situations, ranging from how material may be woven together for strength, through to growing biological molecules in a laboratory, or preventing a telephone handset cord from twisting too much.